Faces of Giants

Butchers' chins and noses get bigger the further back you go. Sat 29 May 2021

The big-nosed, big-chinned medieval butcher. Source

This Chalfont St Giles church wall-painting shows an execution at Herod's Feast. The executioner wields a sword in his right hand. The executioner seems to be wearing a distinctive long hood.

We've seen long, pointed hoods like this before - on dwarves, on witches, on Father Christmas and on Loki:

The hat, the nose. And the net. Source: Loki

And we've seen long, pointed hoods on suppressed Cambridgeshire hill figures:

Magog chalk giant at Wandlebury hill, Cambridgeshire, c. 1978. Source: Secret of a Cambridgeshire Hillside

The Chalfont St Giles church wall painting allegedly shows the beheading of John the Baptist:

... his executioner, in the centre of the scene, is rather clearer. He has the grotesquely exaggerated facial features commonly found in paintings of the torture or execution of Christ and the saints, with a prominent nose and huge jutting chin.

Chalfont's big-nosed executioner. Source

Chalfont's big-nosed butcher is the vicar. Europeans are more familiar with his female version - the wicca:

She also wore a pointed hat. Source: Witch Kitsch and Dark History

The Chalfont butcher's face may not be so exaggerated. His peg nose shows up on other British church walls:

Graffiti at St Mary the Virgin, Stone, Kent. Source: Raking Light

And in north America:

The Birdman Tablet, Cahokia, Illinois. Source: Illinois State Museum

In Mounds for the Dead - An Analysis of the Adena Culture, 1 author Don Dragoo says most of north America's Adena tribe were short. But the tribe also had some taller than average elite members. These taller people had distinctive skulls.

Quoting Dragoo from Giants and Ancient North American Warfare: 2

Two outstanding traits have been noted repeatedly for this group. One is the protruding and massive chin often with prominent bilateral protrusions (The Adena People, Webb and Snow, 1959, p. 37). The second trait is the large size of many of the males and some of the females. A male of six feet was common and some individuals approaching seven feet in height have been found...

Webb and Snow suggested the possibility of "sexual and social selection" being factors in the development of the large-chinned Adena type.

selective breeding would be assiduously practiced, and for several good reasons. The main purpose could have been the creation of a guardian or warrior class made up of physically superior men and women.

That quote is illustrated with this image of two skulls:

Big-chinned giant skulls from America. Source: Giants and Ancient North American Warfare

The image presumably came from The Adena People, Webb and Snow, 1974.

Roman coins reveal the same two traits:

Roman emperor Vespasian. Source

It would be easier to engrave this coin without the protruding chin than with it.

Let's take a look at 18th century touring writer John Byng. In 1954 we were told Byng looked like this:

John Byng as his 1954 editors wanted us to see him. Source

And earlier, like this:

'Byng Lord Torrington' by engraver: 'Aveline'. Source

But cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson caricatured him as 'Dr Syntax' - looking like this:

Note that extended cranium under the peri-wig. Source

Dr Syntax sketching the lake. Source

Dr Syntax returned from his tour (to his domineering wife). Source

John Byng's wife Bridget is alleged to have looked like this:

Bridget Byng portrait in The Torrington Diaries (abridged selected).

Byng's role was military or proto-military. Most of his tours were written while working for Colonel Bertie (possibly Brownlow Bertie, 5th Duke of Ancaster). Byng also refers to his being able to speak German, writing that it was an advantage when he fought in Germany.

Byng also inspects, assesses, and frequently comments on 'the guard' or 'the guardsmen' of the towns he visits.

Long chins and noses also feature in older images of town guards:

The Old Town Guard, Edinburgh. Source: Reminiscences of Old Edinburgh, Vol II

From Reminiscences of Old Edinburgh, Vol II:

Vignette is based on a sketch by the late Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe.

From Charles_Kirkpatrick_Sharpe

In drawing, Sharpe's strength was satirical or grotesque caricature. His frontispieces and illustrations in the Bannatyne Club and other antiquarian publications applied antiquarian knowledge

In other words, Sharpe knew how they had looked. The pigtails suggest they are 'blemiye' overseers:

Blemiye harvest-guards on misericord. Source

Also by John Kay:

Three noses, two chins. 1784. Source A series of original portraits and caricature etchings

And the Devil is portrayed with long nose and chin in this unattributed engraving of him playing cards with Alexander Kinnaird - last Laird of Culbin, Scotland:

Devil on the left; Laird of Culbin on the right. Source

The last Laird of Culbin might be able to clear up why his lairdship was one of several wiped out by hard-to-explain sand patches. See Desert Islands of Eastern England.

Chalfont St Giles, Buckhinghamshire and Wandlesbury, Cambridgeshire

© All rights reserved. The original author retains ownership and rights.

  1. Archive.org marks Mounds for the Dead - An Analysis of the Adena Culture as 'borrow-only' despite its 1963 publication date. This may indicate digital censorship, forgery or reader-tracking. 

  2. I wouldn't usually quote Bibliotecapleyades but we can compare its claims with evidence from elsewhere. Oddly, despite being old, several of the books it quotes from are access-restricted to 'borrow-only', which forces traceability of readers. This may be related to Bibliotecapleyades being hosted by spooks

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