The Three Hares, St Andrews Church, South Tawton, Devon

Laura White
Laura White

Photographer Chris Chapman said; “I first became aware of the richly carved oak roof bosses in St Andrews Church, South Tawton in the early 1980s while attending the funeral of the Devon potter, Andy Holden.

‘I found them intriguing, but little did I know that some twenty years later I would be there again, busy photographing a three hares boss, together with a foliate head, for our newly established Three Hares Project.

‘In 2001 local cameraman Chris Vile made a short film about showing me and my colleagues Sue Andrew and Tom Greeves working together in the church.

‘A subsequent visit in 2018 while attending a concert hosted by the Dartmoor Society inspired me to produce a unique artwork for an exhibition I had been asked to curate on the theme of ‘a modern response to the Three Hares motif’. The exhibition was held at the White Moose Gallery, Barnstaple in September and brought together artists and craftsmen inspired by this much loved symbol. Roof bosses are often very difficult to view, especially if the church has dispensed with its ceiling plaster, so the idea of photographing them and then skilfully blending the images into one seemed to be appropriate. They are without doubt a remarkable survival. Nearly all the bosses in St Andrews date to the 15th Century, with just three, or possible four, dating to the 19th century when the chancel roof underwent repairs. I love all things Dartmoor, and I wanted folk to be able to view them in all their glory.

‘As a result of a recent conversation with The Revd Paul Seaton-Burn and the Friends of St Andrews, South Tawton, I – along with my colleagues at Skerryvore Productions – decided to offer this unique artwork for sale and also fund the printing of a greetings card to help raise money towards a new lighting system so that parishioners and visitors alike can enjoy the roof bosses in situ. ‘The Three Hares, St Andrews, South Tawton, Devon’ measures 108 x 129cm and is priced at £1,500 (no VAT), and Skerryvore has kindly offered to donate 50 % of the proceeds. My photograph at this size is a one-off, and is currently on show in the nave of St Andrews, South Tawton.

The high quality card of the above, complete with envelope and seal, is priced at £2.50 and Skerryvore will donate £1.00 from each sale. They can be purchased in St Michaels, Chagford and in St Andrews, South Tawton. They are also available in packs of five, postage free via our website.”

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