Draycott Photo: St Margaret’s mysterious lady

What we’d like to know is just who this carving, by the main door to the church of St Margaret’s in Draycott is meant to be – or meant to do.

Draycott St Margaret's church feature

Who (or what?) is this mysterious lady of the forked tail?

At first, the mysterious figure appears to a gargoyle, and to be fairly fearsome. She seems to have a scaly body, and a forked tail.
But she also has a very attractive face. Is she meant to scare off evil spirits… or attract us in?
Does anyone know what might be the meaning of the mysterious lady?

Mystery figure – the answer

Our questions gave rise to a little flurry of correspondence (see the comments, below).
Soon she was identified at the patron saint of the church, St Margaret Of Antioch – and not a gargoyle at all…   See the comments below for more fascinating facts about Saint Margaret…

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3 responses to “Draycott Photo: St Margaret’s mysterious lady

  1. Whilst this is not a definitive answer, I’d be inclined to agree with Fr. David. The fact is that the figure is quite recent, dating from the rebuilding of the church in the 1840s and it was around that time that the dedication of the church was changed from St. Peter to St. Margaret of Antioch and so statues of her could have helped to affirm and reinforce the new dedication. The question is though why change the dedication? Perhaps they didn’t want to use St. Peter anymore because a church had been built in nearby Blythe Bridge dedicated to him, but why choose such an obscure foreign saint as St. Margaret who, I believe, is not even considered a real saint by the Catholic Church anymore due to doubts that she ever actually existed, which, when one considers that he legend involves her being eaten by a dragon, is perhaps an understandable viewpoint to take. Any ideas anyone?

    Matt Pointon

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  2. I would say it is a condensed figure of St Margaret of Antioch. If you look at images for her on Google you will see she is usually on a dragon, and the tail certainly belongs to it and not to her! God bless, Fr David Hartley, St Mary’s Cresswell

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    • St Margaret, patron saint

      Yes, Matt and David seem to have it dead right.
      The dragon comes about because, when this early saint was thrown in prison for her Christian beliefs, the Devil came (in the form of a dragon) and swallowed her…only to spit her out again – because the cross she was wearing was choking him!
      Oddly (because she was a virgin-saint) this made her the patron saint of pregnant women. It was felt that St Margaret and newborns shared the same experience – of being pushed out of another being. (Yes, it seems even odder when I repeat it).
      Mark R

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