More than meets the eye

Abbey flints  -  21 x 45cm

Abbey flints    watercolour   21 x 45cm

Flints are part and parcel of the East Anglian landscape – we see them in the fields, in the walls of buildings and as part of the decorative flushwork on churches – even the ones with holes in them became part of the local folklore and were hung up to ward off bad spirits.

These five look ordinary enough but there is more to them than meets the eye. Back in the 12th century they were picked up from the fields by women and children (gleaned) and taken to the building site of the Abbey in Bury St Edmunds.  There they were used as infill on the West front of this, the largest abbey in medieval Europe.

The Abbey is now a ruin.. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the outer facing stones were taken by the townsfolk and used in their houses – column sections and other stones can still be seen in walls and cellars. The original flint infill still remains and houses have been built in part of them.  Over time, like autumn leaves in slow motion, flints like these drop off the sides.

This painting will be in the exhibition ‘Contemporary East Anglian Artists’ at Gainsborough’s House, 46 Gainsborough street, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2EU (tel 01787 372958)  from 21st October 2013 – 4th January 2014