Thursday, August 25, 2016

NLM Quiz no. 18: What Is This, and Why Is It On the Grounds of a Church? - The Answer

It has been several months since our last quiz, so as a reminder of our regular procedure: Please give your answer in the combox, along with any and all details you think pertinent to it. To keep it more interesting, please leave your answer before reading the other comments. We are always pleased to hear humorous answers as well. The structure you see in the photo below is certainly old, but not broken, and not part of a ruin.

The Answer : This object is called a mounting block, made to help people get on and off horseback when they arrive at the church. The church in question is a very ancient parish church dedicated to St Brynach, in the village of Nevern, Pembrokeshire, in south-western Wales. The block was built in the 18th century, and there is apparently only one other in the region. Thanks to Fr Nicholas Schofield for sharing these photos. Correct answers were given by Jose, Exoniensis, Don Adrian, (with a slight qualification: it’s not just for a bishop), David Peters and Bob Eccles, the latter two on our Facebook page.

As I suspected would be the case, this one really brought out some great submissions for the Best Wildly Incorrect Answer and Best Humorous Answer prizes, which we try to include in every quiz. The former is shared by those who guessed that the ten steps (five up, five down) had something to do with counting the Aves of a decade the Rosary: wouldn’t fingers be easier? Niall deserves an Honorable Mention for guessing that it was an architectural “folly”, i.e. a purely decorative structure which serves no purpose; follies tend to be a great deal more than five steps and a wall.

In many of these quizzes, the Best Humorous Answer has been very difficult to judge, and this was no exception. Variants on the “StairMaster” and winners’ podium themes were good, but slightly too obvious, and in the end, Will Bloomfield takes it with “Two-thirds of a small bridge built in the wrong spot,” the “two-thirds” being just the right touch. Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer!

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