Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Poppy Head Definition

History and Architecture

Poppy Head

Poppy head is a generic term applied to the carved finial of a wooden bench end. Although an actual carving of a poppy head was frequently used, in practice poppy-heads might be carved to represent practically anything, from animals, birds, grotesque mytholigical creatures, angels, saints, religious symbols, and human figures. Some of the more overtly religious carvings were intentionally damaged by iconoclasts during the Reformation, and in some churches you can clearly see where poppy-heads have been lopped off or defaced.

Related: Bench End   Grotesque  

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