Parson Wyke's Dog

Thomas Wyke, who died in 1309, was the priest at St Andrew’s, Scredington, Lincs. A rather fine tomb shows him lying down, hands clasped in prayer, wearing full vestments. At his feet sits a dog. Tombs of knights and lords often depict dragons or lions laying at their feet, but this country priest had his spaniel. It might just be a stylistic flourish, but I suspect this was his beloved companion, especially as priests were required to be unmarried. Sometimes dogs provide us with greater friendship than people; they certainly prove more loyal and appreciative of our existence. Although I disdain the fashion for treating dogs as children, I can vouch for their love and affection.

Although the animal world is not to be trifled with, and some of its denizens will bite your hand or eat you whole, I think they are less affected by Adam’s fall than we humans. They might be violent and hungry, but they are seldom bitter, spiteful or cruel. We are lower than angels and higher than beasts, but from the latter, I think, we might see more goodness than in a crowd of people. Well might Parson Wyke have been buried, or memorialised, with his little dog.