The Figures

The Abson Male figure
The Abson Male figure


In addition to the male figure on Abson Church The Divine Hag of the Christian Celts also mentions a figure (above) on the tower as a possible sheela.

Keith Jones investigated Abson on the strength of a mention of a sheela na gig from the Erotic Traveller website, convinced that there was a sheela at the site, he came up with the figure on the tower (which from a distance could be mistaken for a sheela similar to that at Church Stretton). Keith has visited the site fairly recently with improved equipment and has begun to have doubts himself. It seems that the figure that the Erotic Traveller website was referring to was in fact the male figure. I recently re-visited the church with an improved telephoto lens on the camera and managed to get the above shot of the figure. As you can see there is nothing really to suggest that the figure is a sheela let alone exhibitionist. In fact it appears to holding a model of something possibly a building or ship. In addition the figure appears to be wearing a feather in a hat.  In retrospect and with the new photo and details both myself and Keith are now of the opinion that the figure is not a sheela at all.

The Abson figure in sheela na gig literature.

This figure now appears in two books on sheela na gigs namely Jack Robert’s “The Divine Hag of the Christian Celts” and Barbara Freitag’s “Sheela na gigs : Unravelling an enigma”. What is not as well known is that this figure only got into the “Divine Hag” because of Keith’s initial mistaken visit. Jack Roberts credits Keith with the discovery in the “Divine Hag. Barbara Freitag admittedly describes the figure as dubious but I feel this one figure we can discount as being a sheela with some certainty.

John Harding

Knotwork Voussoir
Knotwork Voussoir?
Knotwork fragment
Knotwork fragment
The Abson "Female" figure
The Abson “Female” figure