The church at Kirknewton was united with that of East Calder in 1750 and a new church built elsewhere. In about 1780, the majority of the old church appears to have been taken down. The following year, a voussoir with chevron and erotic figures was given to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
See: Kirknewton, Church
One voussoir survives from the church, now in the collection of the Royal Museum of Scotland. It appears to have been given to the museum in 1781 listed as a ‘stone truss, with two figures carved on it, which supported the sounding board over the pulpit in the old church of Kirknewton’ (Cat. p. 121 no. 76). Carved of sandstone, the voussoir formed part of an arch of two orders, the lower section having been decorated with chevron consisting of alternating rolls and arrises. The vertical centre of these chevrons is carved with a much smaller series of chevrons. The upper section of the voussoir is carved with a naked male and a naked female in a vulgar erotic pose, each grasping each other’s genitals. Two leaves within a triangular space are carved on the bottom face, along with a section of chevron.
|Width at bottom||0.13 m|
|Width at top||0.17 m|
Catalogue of Antiquities in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh 1876, 121 no. 76.
National Museum of Scotland, Angels, Nobles and Unicorns, exhib. cat., Edinburgh 1982, 16 no. B13.
R. Rhodes, ‘Decoding the Sheela-na-gig’, Feminist Formations 22 no. 2 (Summer 2010), 167-94.