Cats seem to be represented in a variety of forms, probably because they were kept by the nuns as pets and to reduce the number of mice and rats. the nuns would often sit with cats and other pets on their laps during church services - perhaps as a way of keeping warm.

The bishops were prompted on a number of occasions to write letters protesting at the custom


Click for further text and more cat photos 


What do the corbels represent?

There are probably as many reasons as there are corbels, however, they fall into number of visual catagories, such as;

animals birds, musical, heads, faces, geometric, faggots of wood, wheels, vegetation.

This page is a work inprogress - further information will be added later


Double-Headed Faces

Thanks are given for the help from David Johnson and for advise given by Frank Green, Michael Drury, Jeffery Higgins, Colin Moretti and members of the Romsey History Society.


Double-headed faces appear on corbels numerous times around Romsey Abbey,

they are usually human and often show the headband of a nun's habit. 

There is little knowledge of why they are depicted so, or what significance is attached to them.

It would be very helpful if readers with further information would contact me to throw some light on the subject. Contact me.


Click for further text and more double-headed face photographs

Faces appear regularly and in many forms from the cartoonish to fine carved portraits, but why and of whom?


Click for further text and more face photographs


Corbels at Romsey Abbey

 painting by Rex Trayhorne

Romsey Abbey corbels and grotesques history architecture

Site last updated 6th December 2019

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This website was designed and built by Roy Romsey -


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If you have information about specific corbels at Romsey Abbey, and which would be of interest to others, please email it to:-

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