Category Archives: Black and white photograpy

My first book: From Bears to Bishops

Norfolk has the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the world – 659 in one county – and this wealth of history is open to everyone. From Bears to Bishops focuses on the medieval wood and stone carving on display in these churches, all of it about 500 years old or more. The size and splendour of the buildings themselves can sometimes distract from the detail revealed in this book.

The book contains 156 high quality black and white photos mainly of oak bench ends but also stone font panels and corbels. ‘Black and white enhances the detail and texture of the wood and stone in a graphic and often atmospheric way,’ says photographer Paul Harley. ‘It helps to reveal the skill and imagination of the anonymous craftsmen who present their world to us. The voices from long ago speak to us still, revealing our terrors, suspicions and desires in lumps of wood and stone.’

Dr Rebecca Pinner of UEA says in her foreword: ‘This is a beautiful, surprising and important volume that will stand for many years to come as a key point of departure for all who want to discover and explore the artistic gems preserved within the treasure hoards of Norfolk’s medieval churches.’

From Bears to Bishops contains a useful index of more than 60 featured churches and an historical essay by the photographer on the development of seating arrangements and carving in churches before the Reformation.

Available from mid September 2018 but you can order now from Mascot Media.

120 pages (220mmx 220mm), softback. ISBN: 978-1-9998457-6-6 UK price: £17.95 Published by Mascot Media Email:


From Bishops to Bears covers.indd



El Sartén, Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo is the first Spanish city of the ‘Indies’, established by Diego Columbus, son of Christopher in the early 16th century ( there were of course many indigenous cities in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus). It is capital of the Dominican Republic.
I was lucky enough to find, El Sartén, a superb, convivial, friendly music bar in the old town (zona colonial). El Sartén, which translates as frying pan, calls itself La Catedral de la Música Caribeña y el Hogar del Son (the cathedral of Caribean music and the home of son). It was certainly sizzling when I was there. I took some photos on a Friday night (dance night) and Sunday night when there was live salsa music, featuring Yanoret and her band (inevitably a dance night too) – it was, as she said after each song -‘linda, sabrosa’.. I was made to feel very welcome by the barman and DJ (Michael Curiel – also the owner, I think). Nobody seemed to mind me taking photos…here are a few of them.

People, green men, saints, and angels

These photographs are all taken in Norfolk medieval churches and are to the best of my knowledge  of medieval carvings. It is a part of my attempt to rationalise my photos of medieval carving in Norfolk. There are scenes from every day life, biblical figures and messages, and green men and angels. More detailed information on the carving can be found in an earlier post

Animals, beasts and mythological creatures in Norfolk’s medieval churches.

I have posted many of these before. This is an attempt to impose some order on the many photographs I have taken of the medieval carving I have found in Norfolk’s churches. They are all medieval to the best of my knowledge. For further information about the carving see previous post. If anyone knows some of the names of the mythological beasts please let me know. Comments welcome.


More Norfolk carving in wood and stone

I’m thinking of reorganising the Norfolk carving posts into themes possibly mythical beasts, people and animals, but until I do here are the next set of photos.

More Norfolk medieval wood and stone carving

Most of these photos were taken in the last few months and there is a heavy bias towards the Marshland churches, especially the magnificent Walpole St Peter and Wiggenhall St Mary the Virgin, whose set of bench ends is second to none in Norfolk, although I find the latter’s atmosphere lacking compared to my favourite churches, perhaps because it is no longer used. Some of the carving is crude, some has been damaged by the ravages of time or perhaps the iconoclasm of the Reformation, and some is excellent. Most of all these photos provide an insight to the medieval world and imagination.