Propped up by a man's head
This stone corbel from Abbey Wood is carved in the shape of a man's head. Corbels are brackets set into a wall to support an arch. They are found in medieval buildings and are often decorated. This one dates from the 13th-14th century.
Where was it found?
The corbel was found during an excavation at Lesnes Abbey in 1938-9. Abbeys were centres for prayer and study where nuns or monks lived. Some religious orders lived in isolation from the local community. Others cared for the sick, offered hospitality to visitors and ran schools.
Lesnes Abbey was founded in 1178 by Augustinian canons. In 1524 it was closed and the land and buildings became the property of King Henry VIII. It was then sold and most of the buildings were demolished. In 1931 the abbey grounds opened to the public as a park. Since 1986 Bexley Council has owned the park, where the ruins of the abbey can still be seen.
Museum number 56.168