The Three Hares in the Rest of Britain and Continental Europe

Holy Trinity, Long Melford, Suffolk.

An example of the three hares design in medieval stained glass has long been known from Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk.

Other important examples have been identified on medieval tiles. A floor tile excavated from the nave of Chester Cathedral dates to c.1400 CE.

A medieval boss, carved in stone, is to be found in the Lady Chapel of St Davids Cathedral, in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and a wooden boss can be seen in the roof of the nave in Selby Abbey, Yorkshire. Wooden bosses are also found in the church of St. Hubert, Corfe Mullen, Dorset, and in the chapel of Cotehele, Cornwall. The Cotehele boss can be dated to the late 1480's, when the chapel was built.

In a secular context, a plaster ceiling with the design is located in Scarborough, Yorkshire.

On continental Europe, the three hares appear in a wide variety of medieval ecclesiastical contexts in France, Germany and Switzerland. In eastern France, a cluster is known from churches in Alsace and the Vosges. A very fine roof boss in stone is situated in the chapter house of the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Wissembourg. This dates to c.1300 CE. Another example of the hares, in stone, can be seen carved into an undersill in the chapel of the Hotel de Cluny in Paris.

In Germany, a well-known example is carved in stone in the cloister window of Paderborn Cathedral. One of the most important occurrences of the three hares motif is on a bell given to the Cistercian Abbey of Kloster Haina in 1224 CE. This date is reliably confirmed by the presence on the bell of the seal of Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz.



All images and content: © Copyright Chris Chapman / The Three Hares Project 2022