Thursday, 31 July 2014

Happy Yorkshire Day!

Happy Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire Day, 1st August each year, is a day to celebrate everything Yorkshire, but especially the integrity of the county. It has grown in popularity over the years, and many celebrations take place throughout Yorkshire, and wider afield.

It was celebrated in 1975 by The Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as a 'protest movement against the Local Government reorganisation of 1974.'

The central and longstanding tradition of Yorkshire Day is the reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity, which is a statement of allegiance to Yorkshire and its boundaries and affirms Yorkshire's ancient foundation in 875AD (as the Kingdom of Jorvik) by the Viking Chief Halfdan Ragnarsson.

The Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity:

"I, (name,) being a resident of the (West/North/East) Riding of Yorkshire (or City of York) declare:
That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of 1139 years standing (current year minus 875;)
That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire;
That all persons born therein or resident therin and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women;
That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.
These declarations made this Yorkshire Day (year). God Save the Queen!"

Each year, on 1st August, members of The Yorkshire Ridings Society read the Declaration of the Integrity of Yorkshire at four of the Bars (gatehouses) of York.

A reading is held facing into each of the three Ridings and into the City. In recent years a reading has been held in the City centre too.

The traditional boundaries of the three Ridings run up to the ancient City walls, so by making the Declaration out of three of the Bars, the Society can make the Declaration in each Riding, followed by reading the Decalartion from a fourth Bar into the City.

Enjoy Yorkshire Day and our beautiful and historic county!

Thanks for reading :)


Justbod Team

Information sources:

The Yorkshire Ridings Society

Visit the Justbod Website for Celtic, Viking & Mythical wood carvings, sculptures and artwork by the Yorkshire artist bod.

 Justbod Celtic Viking Carvings, Sculptures, Artwork

 Original article on bod's blog.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Pale and Interesting - our hand-burnt sycamore plaques

Pyrographed Celtic Knotwork wood plaque

This is the latest Guardian by bod - a sycamore wall plaque with a 'recessed' hand-burnt (pyrographed) design.

We at the Justbod Team have become so used to bod's 'dark wood' (oak) wall plaques, this was rather a suprise. It was quickly dubbed 'pale and interesting,' which has become a bit of a tag-line!

We all really like it and bod has now promised to create Hound in a similar way, when he has time. It is quite low on the list, and it's become a rather long list, as we've been super-busy recently.  

Celtic Knotwork wood carving

Our new 'pale and interesting' Guardian joins the carved and metal Guardian's on our website and is now available to purchase or order from our Wood and Fire Collection.

Scupted metal Celtic Knotwork wood plaque

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

 Update: Hound now available!



Artwork, carvings and sculptures by bod
~ inspired by history and nature ~


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Friday, 18 July 2014

Scandinavian Ironwork on an ancient Yorkshire door?

Doorway St Helen's Church Stillingfleet York

The South West Norman doorway of St Helen's Church, Stillingfleet, near York, Yorkshire is one of the finest in England with multiple layers of intricate stone carving. The orginal door, however, is even more famous, and is now kept inside the church to protect it...

St Helen's is the parish church of Stillingfleet, a village about six miles south of York in North Yorkshire, just near the banks of the River Ouse. The origin of its name lies in Old English and means 'stretch of river belonging to the family or followers of a man called Styfel', being composed of the elements Styfel (name of landowner,) inga (followers of) and fleot (stream, inlet or creek.) It was recorded as Steflingefled in the Domesday Book.

St Helen's Church, Stillingfleet, North Yorkshire
St Helen's Church, Stillingfleet, North Yorkshire

The recorded history of St Helen's goes back more than 800 years, to the middle of the 12th century, and was probably built by Robert de Stuteville.

Carved detail from South West Doorway St Helen's Stillingfleet

A notice board just next to the stunning South West doorway of St Helen's has the following information: 

"The outer arch has double rows of conventional leaves. The second is carved with 36 beak heads, the third and fourth with a chevron pattern. In the receding angle of each chevron of the third arch, there is a design apparently intended for a tree or foliage. The fifth is enriched with a variety of figures.
On the keystone of this inner arch, there is a man's face with a crown surmounted by three crosses, possibly intended for Henry II. On the seven stones to the right are first a bird and a dog, united by a string; second - two heads of animals and scroll work; third - a geometric pattern; fourth - heads; fifth - two beak heads; sixth - heads facing each other; seventh - a rose.
To the left there is first - a beak head; second - a man's head; third - a dog; fourth - a scroll; firth - a lion; sixth - a rose; seventh - a man's head.
Round the actual entrance arch there are billets and fir cones carved in relief, double and treble. The nook shaft capitals are fluted on the left; on the right on the first pair - two dragons with necks entwined, second and third - fluted; fourth - on the right - head in leaves, on the left - foxes and grapes; firth - on the right, some beautiful interlaced work, on the left - a head in leaves and entwined stalks."

Carved detail from South West Doorway St Helen's Stillingfleet

The  external wooden door, though still impressive, is not original, as this is now kept inside the church itself.

Original door St Helens Church Stillingfleet
Original door St Helens Church Stillingfleet
Original door hinges St Helens Church Stillingfleet
Part of the original hinges are also displayed inside the church

The original door possibly dates from as early as the 10th century, and might have been reused by the Church in the 11th or 12th century, although its exact dating is debated. Many believe the ironwork to be Scandinavian in design and it is included in Wilson's catalogue of Anglo-Saxon metalwork.

Original door St Helens Church Stillingfleet

Whatever the date and the origin, the focus of the ironwork is very intriguing, showing, amongst other things, a ship, a pair of figures, a horned figure and various other bits of decorative ironwork.

Original door St Helens Church Stillingfleet

It is possible that the ship is a representation of a Viking Longship, possibly commemorating the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

The door, with its enigmatic ironwork, is in remarkable condition for its age and is among the oldest to survive in Britain. It is internationally famous with visitors coming from all over the world to see this beautiful and historic artefact, as well as the intricate carvings of the doorway. 

North East Doorway, St Helen's, Stillingfleet, North Yorkshire
Main entrance to the Church now through the smaller Norman Doorway

The Church of St Helen's is well worth a visit just for the door and doorway, but also contains lots of other interesting features and history.

Please consider leaving a donation, if you do visit.

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team  

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Sources and further information:

Cambridge University Press Journals Online: IV. The Norman Church and Door at Stillingfleet, North Yorkshire
Rural South York Churches: St Helen's Stillingfleet
Notice with details of the doorway, (posted outside St Helen's Church :)
Wikipedia: Stillingfleet
Topp & Co: makers of the 'modern' door replacement

Original article first appeared on the Justbod Facebook Page

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Runestone viking art wall plaque
Runestone - now available in an oak and metal plaque which has been individually hand sculpted by bod. It measures ~ 22cm square.

It is available now from our Creatures Collection.

NB: This is an old version of this article and the design has now been completely reworked and remade. You can see the new design >> here.

Click through to the latest version of this article 'bod's Runestone, Grettir's Saga and a Matter of Trust'

bod's design is based on Viking or Norse Art Runestone inscriptions, which were typically carved into raised stones or boulders. The tradition began in the 4th century, and lasted well into the 12th. Most of the Runestones found are located in Scandinavia, but there are also others scattered throughout the lands that the Vikings visited and settled. Runestones were often memorials, and were frequently brightly coloured when first created.

Viking or Norse art has been categorised into different periods, and my Runestone design has been based on the type of art known as ‘Urnes Style,’ named after the northern gate of the Urnes stave church in Norway. It is also often called ‘Runestone Style’ by scholars and is characterised by slim and stylised animals that are interwoven into tight patterns, with animal heads in profile and with slender almond-shaped eyes.

The Runic inscriptions on Runestones were most often memorials to the dead, much like our gravestones today. This type of inscription did not seem appropriate for my Runestone, and I debated for some time as to what to write. In the end I decided that I did want the Runes to ‘say’ something, rather than being in a meaningless order, but that I didn’t want it to carry too much importance, as different people like different things. In the end, I simply used words from the Justbod website, as follows: 

The inscription is -

– Justbod Celtic Viking and Mythical Sculptures Carvings and Artwork. Handcrafted by bod.

Overall, my intent with this was whimsical and romantic, rather than an intent towards Runic historical accuracy.

Runestone viking art wall plaque

It is also available in our Wood and Fire Collection as a hand-burnt design inset into a 16 cm oak frame.

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

For all of bod's currently available work - see Collections.

Celtic, Viking and Mythical wood carvings, sculptures and artwork inspired by history and nature - come and see us on the Justbod Website.
Justbod Celtic Viking and Mythical sculptures and carvings

Behold the Specklebeast...

Specklebeast Celtic design wallart

Each Specklebeast is individually created by me using a process of hand-sculpting metal, which is then inset into a 22cm square hand-crafted solid oak plaque. It is available in silver metal, or pure copper.

NB: This is an old, out-of-date version of this article. Read the new article and see the updated Specklebeast here.

Browse/buy the new version of Specklebeast >> here.

I love zoomorphic designs (meaning having or representing animal forms.) They are quite common in illuminated manuscripts, and often associated with 'Celtic' artwork, but were developed mainly through the artwork of the Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons, these influences finding their way into the 'insular' art of the Celtic Monks who created the beautiful manuscripts such as the Book of Kells.

My Specklebeast design, however, is based on an engraved silver, and silver gilt, ring found in the Thames in 1856, made in England and dated 775-850.

The Chelsea Ring - anglo saxon ring
Source Wikipedia Valerie McGlinchey

It is known as 'The Chelsea Ring' as it was found in that area of the Thames. The ring is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. You can read more about it here.

It is a beautiful design, and I really enjoyed making this piece. I love the vibrancy and the intricate knotwork.

Visit our Creatures Collection to find my Specklebeast along with several other wee beasties.....


Now also available in our Dark & Light series as a hand-burnt design: burnt onto birch wood and then mounted into a hand-crafted oak frame. It is one of several designs of mine in the same style.

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

Artwork, carvings & sculpture by bod
~ inspired by history and nature ~

You might also be interested in:

- more about ancient bog wood & bod's latest woodcarving

 Celtic woodcarving

- for regular updates on new pieces, articles and offers

Sources & Further Information:
Wikipedia: Anglo-Saxon Ring
Victoria and Albert Museum Collections
Wikipedia: Book of Kells