St. George in Norwich

As referenced in our previous post, St. George was a very popular saint in medieval Norwich (the county seat of Norfolk, England). The city boasts two medieval churches dedicated to him (St. George’s Tombland and St. George’s Colegate), and the Norwich Guild of St. George, to which many prominent citizens belonged, sponsored an elaborate “riding” of St. George every year on the saint’s feast day, which culminated in a staged battle between actors playing St. George and the dragon. This dragon was named “Snap,” and at least once he¬†was equipped with gunpowder in order to produce the effect of fire breathing. A dragon costume for Snap is on display in the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, which I saw some years ago but didn’t take a photo of. Thus, I was pleased to receive just now, from Dr. Roger Simpson of Norwich, some photos of a modern Snap:

Photo: The Rev. Canon John Minns.

Photo: The Rev. Canon John Minns

Dr. Simpson writes that this model, used in parades in Norwich, used to be stored in the redundant church of St. Gregory. A year ago St. Gregory’s was converted into an antique market, and the regular removal and return of Snap was proving cumbersome. Thus was he rehoused in St. George’s Tombland – a most appropriate new venue! He “sits above the kitchen in the north aisle and stares at the pulpit.”

UPDATE: Dr. Simpson sends three more photos, of the occasion when Snap arrived at St George Tombland.

The first photo shows Canon Minns and Peter the Verger installing Snap on top of the kitchen. This also illustrates the size of the dragon.

Photo: Derrick Dack.

Canon Minns (Father John) poses with Snap.

Photo: Derrick Dack.

A detailed look at the dragon’s head and body.

Photo: Derrick Dack.