Find Hessett on a map
The two most intriguing objects, though, are beside Christs head on the left of the picture. There is something that is fairly certainly an inverted jug or ewer, with a handle (with perhaps a spear-head beside it), and further left is a playing-card, the six of diamonds. These may be a reference to the much-deplored drinking and gaming that went on on Sundays, or they may be Instruments of the Passion. The ewer and basin, in which Pilate washed his hands, are sometimes found in illustrations of the Instruments¹. I know of no example featuring a playing card, but the dice with which the soldiers drew lots for Christs garments are sometimes included. Once again, I think, iconographical details from depictions of the Instruments of the Passion fit quite neatly into the context of proscribed activities on the Sabbath - the analogy between what was done to Christ during his Passion and the reprobate activities indulged in by Sunday tavern-haunters would not have needed much explaining to medieval people.
There are several other paintings at Hessett, including a very interesting Seven Deadly Sins, the lower edge of which is visible as a patch of red pigment at the top here. The placing of this subject above the Warning to Sabbath-Breakers is probably not accidental.
¹Pilates ewer is included among the Instruments in Eamon Duffys example (The Stripping of the Altars, Yale, 1992, plate 85).
Website of St Ethelberts, Hessett
|Ampney St. Mary, Gloucs (Sabbath Breakers)||Breage, Cornwall (Sabbath Breakers)||Broughton, Bucks (Swearers)||Corby Glen, Lincs (Swearers)||Duxford, Cambs (Sabbath Breakers?)|
|Hessett, Suffolk (Sabbath Breakers)||St. Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall (Sabbath Breakers)||Michaelchurch Escley, Heref.& Worcs. (Sabbath Breakers?)||Nether Wallop, Hampshire (Sabbath Breakers) NEW||Oaksey, Wilts (Sabbath Breakers)|
|Poundstock, Cornwall (Sabbath Breakers)||West Chiltington, Sussex (Sabbath Breakers)|
© Anne Marshall 2001 +++