I heard of a possible sheela in the church at Mere from someone on the internet. I finally managed to get down to the village only to find out that unfortunately while the figure is exhibitionist it is definitely not a sheela. Nevertheless it is interesting and deserves a mention. The carvings can be found in the Church of St. Michael in Mere Wiltshire in the Bettesthorne chapel. The carvings have obviously been moved but due to the lack of weathering it seems likely that they have been indoors for most of their life. A possible indication of them having had to have been moved some point can been seen in the original roof line of the chapel which is still visible on the inside wall (See below). The church itself is thought to be around 900 years old. The earliest records date to around 1091.
There are guides to the church available but no mention is made of the carvings despite other interesting features being mentioned.
The figure does not fit the usual sheela type and may in fact be male there are two "stones" which the monsters tongue is licking but there seems to be a distinct lack of any other genitalia. I think the safest categorisation would be that of an "anus shower" rather than a Sheela. There is also another similar figure on the opposite wall which appears to be holding a scroll or shaft of some type. I got the distinct impression that this figure was meant to be holding something in between its legs and arms though what that could be I have no idea.A similar "testicle licking" figure can be found on the Church Tower at West Knoyle some 5 miles away to the east
|A side view of the figure|
|The companion figure opposite. The bar between the hands appears to be made of wood.|
|The roof line in the church|
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