S nave corbel SN16 (side view) (Image courtesy of Conway Library).

Image of the feature "III. Exterior Features: 3. Exterior Decoration: c. Corbel tables, corbels: Nave, S side corbel table (19 corbels)" at Kilpeck.

by George Zarnecki.

The table itself has a lower angle roll decorated with two-strand cable, alternately broad and concave and narrow and convex. Above this is a hollow, then a row of beading. Corbels are numbered from left to right (W to E). The corbel table on the south side of the nave has one more corbel than its counterpart on the north since there is no buttress between the two western bays, its place being occupied by the S doorway.

SN1 (T1). A bird standing in right profile pecking at a smaller bird on the ground under its feet. Thurlby offers three possible interpretations from the Bestiary; the pelican striking back at its young who have attacked it, the quail attacked by a sparrowhawk, and the kite, which attacks tame birds. The possibility that it might be the pelican is especially interesting since this particular episode from the story is rarely illustrated, no doubt because it cannot be comfortably moralised. Artists more commonly depicted the following scene, where the adult bird resurrects its dead chicks with its own blood. That episode is nowhere shown on the corbel table, which might suggest that a pelican was not what the artist had in mind here.

SN2 (T2). A human head with long straight hair centrally parted, drilled bulbous oval eyes, small ears, a slightly flaring nose and small straight mouth. This is one of the most naturalistic of the human heads here.

SN3 (T3). A composite human lion head surrounded by a mane with short curls on the crown and curled tufts below the head. It has drilled bulbous oval eyes, high cheekbones and a mouth like a mask of comedy.

SN4 (T4) Four scaly-bodied serpents entwined in a symmetrical basketweave knot. Also included in the knot are reeded foliage stems with side leaves emerging from clasps. The head of the upper right serpent is lost; the others all have their mouths open, in the act of biting.

SN5 (T5). Almost completely broken off.

SN6 (T6). Only the concave form of the corbel remains, with a scar suggesting that a head has been knocked off.

SN7 (T7). A pair of wrestlers standing and grappling each other. They wear short skirts or trousers with reeded decoration. Their heads, arms and upper bodies and the entire top of the corbel are lost.

SN8 (T8). Agnus Dei. A lamb walking to right with a cross supported on its right foreleg. The cross head is Maltese, with a heavy central boss. It is placed directly over the S doorway. There is another Agnus Dei corbel on the axis of the apse (A13).

SN9 (T9). Removed and wall repaired.

SN10 (T10). A damaged corbel, the entire upper part lost. What remains are the lower parts of two standing human figures facing one another with legs apart. The left figure has knee-length trousers with vertical reed decoration; the right slightly longer trousers falling in pleats flaring at the hem, and an overgarment with a diagonal hem running from the waist at the left to the hem of the trousers at the right. He also has a triple-reeded belt. Between the feet of each figure is a clasp from which emerges a pair of foliage stems. The outer stem in each case disappears behind the figure, while the two inner stems rise between the figures and intertwine around knee level before continuing upwards and disappearing in the damaged area.

SN11 (T11). A composite human lion head surrounded by a mane similar to SN3, except that the mane below the head falls in ringlets while that on the crown is in short curls, the eyes are not drilled, and the ears are smaller.

SN12 (T12). A grotesque beast head with bulging almond eyes surrounded by bands of reeding, a large, open, thick-lipped mouth from which a fleshy tongue protrudes between pointed teeth, rounded, hollowed-out ears and mane-like curly tufts below the jaw.

SN13 (T13). An untidy basketweave of double-reeded two- and three-strand interlace.

SN14 (T14). A composite human lion head surrounded by a curly mane.

SN15 (T15). Three triple-reeded stems each terminating at both ends in a furled leaf interlaced together regularly. Damage to the top left has lost a leaf.

SN16 (T16). A ram's head similar to A16.

SN17 (T17). A lion's head with drilled eyes surrounded by wrinkles, thick fleshy lips and rounded hollowed-out ears.

SN18 (T18). Broken off.

SN19 (T19). Largely lost, but traces of a curly lion's mane survive at the bottom.