The woodwose, woodhouse or woodwo, the wild man of the woods, was a popular mediaeval folklore figure, dressing in a lion's skin and in this case carrying a heavy club and shield -
|The Ludham Woodwose. There is also a very |
rare carving of a female woodwose on this font.
They are extraordinary images to find in a cathedral, and one can only speculate at the motives of the wood carvers. Were they paying homage to older religions? Were they hedging their bets with the Gods?
Anton Wessels in his book "Europe: Was it Ever Really Christian?" asks the same question from the Christian point of view, and acknowledges the strength of the Graeco-Roman, Celtic and even earlier influences, through enduring myths and legends still vivid even when Christianity was at its strongest.
These woodwose are a joke, in my view, a wink from the past to fellow sceptics who do not take religion too seriously -