The Vault

Gargoyle on St Stephen's Church in Vienna

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria

This is a gargoyle on St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. The cathedral is largely the work of Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365). However, it stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first of which was consecrated in 1147 and dedicated to Saint Stephen. Various German nobles attended before they set out on the Second Crusade.

This particular gargoyle featured in the 1981 music video "Vienna" by Ultravox. The song reached number 2 in the UK singles chart.

Gargoyle on Durham Cathedral water tower
Durham Cathedral
Water Tower (1)

This is a gargoyle on the ancient water tower in the grounds of Durham Cathedral. It is situated in the College precinct between the Chorister School and the former Cathedral Kitchen.

The Bishopric of Durham dates from 995, with the present cathedral being founded in AD 1093. The cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle, which faces it across Palace Green.

Church gargoyle in Mullewa, Western Australia
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul

This month's gargoyle is on the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. The church is in Mullewa, 280 miles north of Perth in Western Australia. The priest Monsignor John Hawes, who was also an architect, built the church largely with his own hands and the help of parishioners. They began work in 1921 and completed it in 1927. Constructed of stone and tile, the design is quite eclectic although overall it is reminscent of a Spanish Mission. Hawes built a presbytery for himself next to the church. Known as the Priesthouse, this was finished in 1929. The priesthouse has been used as a museum since 1980.

Gargoyle on Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford (1)

This is a gargoyle at Magdalen College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. Regarded as one of the most beautiful of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges, it stands next to the River Cherwell and has a deer park within its grounds.

Gargoyle on Todmorden Unitarian Church
Todmorden Unitarian Church, West Yorkshire

This is a gargoyle on Todmorden Unitarian Church in West Yorkshire, England. The church is a Grade 1 listed building that was built between 1865 and 1869. It stands in an elevated position overlooking Todmorden itself, a popular market town.

The church is regarded as a particularly fine example of the "Gothic Revival" style of architecture.

Gargoyle on Notre Dame, Paris
Notre Dame, Paris

This is a gargoyle on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The cathedral is widely considered to be a fine example of French Gothic architecture, and was one of the first buildings in the world to use flying buttresses. Many small individually crafted statues were placed around the outside to serve as column supports and water spouts, including the famous gargoyles. Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII and was largely complete by 1345.

Lincoln Imp gargoyle in Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

The Lincoln Imp is a gargoyle in Lincoln Cathedral, England, on the south side of the most north-easterly pillar of the Angel Choir. It is the symbol of the City of Lincoln. According to a 14th-century legend, two imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem in Northern England, they headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel came out of a book of hymns and told them to stop, one of the imps started throwing rocks at the angel, but the other imp cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, giving the second imp a chance to escape to Grimsby.

Gargoyle on Durham Cathedral Water Tower
Durham Cathedral Water Tower (2)

This gargoyle is on the Water Tower beside Durham Cathedral in North East England. The Water Tower is located on College Green near the chorister school. The tower is octagonal and each vertex has a different gargoyle.

The bishopric of Durham dates from 995, with the present cathedral being founded in AD 1093. The cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle, which faces it across Palace Green.

Gargoyle on Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral

This month's gargoyle is on Salisbury Cathedral in England, which is one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The main body of the cathedral was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258.

The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft). Visitors can take the "Tower Tour" where the interior of the hollow spire, with its ancient wood scaffolding, can be viewed. The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain (80 acres (32 ha)). It contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta.

Gargoyle on Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford (2)

This is a gargoyle on Magdalen College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Magdalen was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. The founder's statutes included provision for a choral foundation of men and boys (a tradition that has continued to the present day). A large meadow occupies most of the north west of the college's grounds, from the New Buildings and the Grove Quad up to Holywell Ford. During the winter and spring, it is the home of a herd of Fallow Deer.

Gargoyle on the Church of St Nicolas in Newbury
St Nicolas, Newbury

This is a gargoyle on the church of St Nicolas in Newbury, West Berkshire. The original founder of the church is said to be Ernulf, the lord of forty-eight manors under the gift of William the Conqueror, towards the end of the 11th century. The only trace of this first church is some of the north porch foundations discovered outside the present building. The church was entirely rebuilt, probably between the years 1509 and 1533. St Nicolas is chiefly notable for the consistency of this early 16th-century, late Perpendicular Gothic architecture. It is of unusually large size for a parish church.

Gargoyle on the Church of St Mark in Mark, Somerset
St Mark, Mark in Somerset

This is a gargoyle on the east end of the south aisle of the Church of St Mark in Mark, Somerset. The church dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. There may have been a chapel in the village from the 12th century however the current church was dedicated in 1268 as the Church of the Holy Cross. The Four Evangelists, each with his symbol, were carved by a Belgian sculptor, André, in 1524 from single pieces of oak. Now in the choir, they were originally from Bruges Cathedral. The North Aisle Roof has many Tudor carvings, while the Nave Barrel Roof features earlier ones including King Alfred and his wife.

Gargoyle on Brussels Town Hall in Belgium
Brussels Town Hall, Belgium

This is a gargoyle on Brussels Town Hall in Belgium. The oldest part of the present building is its east wing. This wing, together with a shorter belfry, was built and completed in 1420 under direction of Jacob van Thienen. The 96-metre-high (315 ft) tower in Brabantine Gothic style emerged from the plans of Jan van Ruysbroek, the court architect of Philip the Good. By 1454 this tower replacing an older belfry was complete.The square tower body narrows to a lavishly pinnacled octagonal openwork. Atop the spire stands a 5-metre-high gilt metal statue of the archangel Michael, patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon or devil. The tower, its front archway and the main building façade are conspicuously off-centre relative to one another. According to legend, the architect upon discovering this "error" leapt to his death from the tower. More likely, the asymmetry of the Town Hall was an accepted consequence of the scattered construction history and space constraints.

Gargoyle on Paisley Abbey
Paisley Abbey

This gargoyle is on Paisley Abbey in the centre of the town of Paisley, about 12 miles west of Glasgow in Scotland. It is believed that Saint Mirren (Mirin) founded a community on this site in 7th century. After his death a shrine was established which became a popular site of pilgrimage and veneration. The name Paisley may derive from the Brythonic Passeleg, maning 'basilica'. In 1163 a charter was made for a priory to be set up in the town. Dedicated to Saints Mary, James, Mirin and Milburga, around 13 monks came from the Cluniac priory at Much Wenlock in Shropshire to found the community. It was raised to the status of abbey in 1245. In 1307, Edward I of England had the abbey burned down although it was rebuilt later in the 14th century. William Wallace is believed to have been educated here for some time when he was a boy.

Gargoyle on St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

This is a gargoyle on St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. Located within Prague Castle, it contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. The cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the third of a series of religious buildings at the site, all dedicated to St. Vitus. The first church was an early Romanesque rotunda founded by Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia in 930. The present-day Gothic Cathedral was founded on 21 November 1344, when the Prague bishopric was raised to an archbishopric. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by King John of Bohemia, while the first master builder was Matthias of Arras. Matthias designed the overall layout: a triple-naved basilica with flying buttresses, short transept, five-bayed choir and decagon apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels.

Gargoyle is on the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) on the northern Marienplatz in Munich
Neues Rathaus, Munich

This month's gargoyle is on the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) on the northern Marienplatz in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It was built between 1867 and 1908 by Georg von Hauberrisser in a Gothic Revival architecture style. The building hosts the Munich city government including the council and the mayor's office. The Rathaus-Glockenspiel, performed by an apparatus daily at 11am, 12pm and 5pm, is a tourist attraction.

Gargoyle on Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral

This is a gargoyle on Winchester Cathedral in England. The building is unusually large, with the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. It was founded in 642 on a site immediately to the north of the present location. This building became known as the Old Minster. In 1079, Bishop Walkelin began work on a completely new cathedral. A substantial amount of the fabric of Walkelin's building, including the crypt, transepts and the basic structure of the nave, survives. The cathedral possesses the only diatonic ring of 14 church bells in the world, with a tenor (heaviest bell) weighing 1.81 tonnes.

Nowadays the cathedral draws many tourists as a result of its association with Jane Austen, who died in Winchester on 18 July 1817. Her funeral was held in the cathedral, and she was buried in the north aisle.

Winchester Cathedral is possibly the only cathedral to have had popular songs written about it. "Winchester Cathedral" was a UK top ten hit and a US number one song for The New Vaudeville Band in 1966.

Gargoyle on the Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux
Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux

This is a gargoyle in the form of a lion on the south transept of the Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux in France, east of Paris. Construction of the cathedral was started between 1175-1180, when a structure in Romanesque style was begun. Marie of France, Countess of Champagne, was buried here.

Defects in the original design and construction had to be corrected in the 13th century, in which the architect Gautier de Vainfroy was much involved. He had to remove the previous cathedral almost totally and he built a new structure in Gothic style. The cathedral encompasses several periods of Gothic art and rises to a height of 48 meters; inside, the vaults at the choir rise to 33 meters. The interior ornamentation is noted for its smoothness, and the space for its overall luminosity. The cathedral contains a famous organ, built in the 17th century.

Gargoyle on the church of All Saints in Willian. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Church of All Saints, Willian

This month’s gargoyle is from the Church of All Saints in Willian, Hertfordshire. The church dates back to Norman times or earlier, and consists of a nave with two bays and a chancel. These date to the 12th and 13th centuries respectively. The tower and south porch are 15th century. The roof is of Welsh slate with coped gables, while the structure is built of flint and ironstone rubble walls with ashlar dressed stone and buttresses. The 14th and 15th century fenestration is in the Perpendicular style. The church's interior has a 19th century timber barrel roof above both the nave and chancel, while the latter still has its original corbel masks and carved seats.

The tower is of three stages with a stair turret and battlemented parapet. There are eight gargoyles.

Castle of Blain, France
Gargoyle on the Castle of Blain, France

This is a gargoyle on the castle of Blain (or castle of the Groulais), a medieval fortress located in the town of Blain in north-western France. The castle was first built in 1108 as part of the defensive network around Brittany. It was extensively rebuilt in the 14th century.

At one time the castle had as many as twelve towers. Today, there are nine, more or less whole. The Logis du Roy (whose ground floor now houses a restaurant) is in the Renaissance style, with high pinnacles, chimneys and gargoyles.

Gargoyle on the Church of St Michael and All Angels, Buckland Dinham
Church of St Michael and All Angels, Buckland Dinham

This is a gargoyle on the Church of St Michael and All Angels in Buckland Dinham, Somerset, England. A Grade I listed building, the church has a nave, chancel, south chapel and south porch which date from around 1200. The north chapel was added in 1325, a further chapel to the north of the chancel and the west tower being added in 1480. The church underwent restoration in the late 19th century. The tower contains six bells.