Curious to know who he is and why he's there, I thought I'd make getting a snap and doing a bit of research my challenge for Day 2 of #100DaysOfInteresting.
The Cornhill Gargoyles
Turns out that the chap sitting ominously on the roof isn't alone. He's got two mates and collectively they're known as The Cornhill Gargoyles, or The Cornhill Devils, aptly called because they are found in Cornhill in London. Whether it's because I have bad eyes, or only have time enough to glance at the obvious, I can honestly say I never noticed the other two before.
How they got there and why seems somewhat murky. Starting with the actual, solid facts, I can tell you that they're made of terracotta and they are dated to the late 19th century. The story of why they are there is much harder to pin down, but if the most popular theory is to be believed then it's a story of religion, anger and revenge...
From whence the Devils came
Look closely when on Cornhill and you'll spot a spire. It's matched in size by surrounding buildings and dwarfed by London's many tower blocks, but it's there and it's the spire of St Peter's Church. Before modern London took over, St Peter's stood proud on top of Cornhill, one of only two natural crests within the city. The other is Ludgate, where you'll find St Paul's.
As the need for more offices in The City increased during the 19th Centuary, any tiny area of land was pounced upon and redeveloped. The result was that St Peter's became engulfed by commercial buildings and the church, much to the Rector's dismay, was vanishing from sight.
He was, however, eventually rewarded with a small win over the developers. As they tried to build closer and closer to the church, the rector eventually spotted that one architect had gone a step too far as his design infringed upon church property. Kicking up a stink, the rector was found to be right and it was demanded that the architect redesign the whole building.
|Devil images, taken from lookingforghosts.wordpress.com|
So there you have it. The urban myth and as much actual fact as I could dig up on an evening. They are well worth a look though as they are (just about) the most terrifying gargoyles I've ever seen.
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