A 16th century wooden bracket is carved to represent a succubus


A 16th century wooden bracket supporting a jettied floor of a coaching inn in Cambridge.

The bracket is carved to represent a succubus, indicating that the inn also operated as a brothel.

The bracket is one of seven brackets supporting the jettied floors of No 25 Magdalene Street, in Cambridge. The building dates from the mid 16th century and was originally the Cross Keys Inn, the largest of five inns that used to stand in Magdalene Street. The other brackets are also naively carved with images of satyrs and crouching men.

In this case, the inn has several other decorative brackets, including a satyr, so an alternative interpretation of this sort of pagan imagery on buildings is as a ward against witchcraft. A more likely explanation is that they are simply a decoration, illustrating the symbols of drinking, revelling and excess in a similar vein to the Greek god Dionysus or the Roman Bacchus



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