Tale To Ponder – Crowning Glory?

The story of The Shed door as told by Andrew Brown.

“I was playing at a concert in Yorkshire where, at the back of the stage, there was a shed door with a strange and beautiful object hung in its centre. The venue, a village hall, is called ‘The Shed’, which explained the presence of the door but its ornament was a different matter altogether. If you can imagine a silver bowl about two feet in diameter with the centre removed, leaving a loop of metal three inches wide, you will have its basic form. On it were hammered many circular depressions round its entire circumference. It looked very old and early or pre-Christian in design. Naturally I asked the organiser of the concert what it was, what did it symbolize? This is what he told me:

It was his custom, daily, to walk his dog by the beck in the village of Brawby, just south of the North Yorkshire Moors. He was born in the village some thirty-five years ago, and so each slight rise and fall of the low-lying landscape, each twist and turn in the beck and each tree and hedge was intimately known to him – not much was going to surprise him. On this particular morning he set out for his regular walk; there was nothing especially notable about the day, but it was a clear, bright and sunny morning, ripe to uplift the spirit with common things – the lark’s song or the blossoming hedgerows. He reached a familiar turn in the beck’s course when the sun, being in just the right position, picked out something metal shining on the beck’s bed. He called his dog to heel and looked a little closer at the glistening shape just below the fast running water. The outline he could see seemed to him to be that of a golden crown, half buried for centuries in the mud and stones of the ancient beck. He rushed back home, fetched his wellington boots, a spade and a bag, and returned immediately to the same spot on the bank. The crown proved not at all difficult to retrieve and he was soon back on the bank with his treasure. It was undeniably beautiful, it was also undeniably an old car wheel trim. He was about to throw it back in the river in disgust but for some intangible reason he didn’t, and home it came with him. He cleaned it and hung it on his shed door.

When, much later, he opened a new arts venue he needed a name and thought that ‘The Shed’ would be amusing, and the first concert had, as a backdrop, his shed door with its resplendent crown. Since that day many people have asked about the crown and all have received exactly the same reply, although each person takes away with them a different answer – their answer. I confess that I too, like my host, was a little disappointed at first, but it was so undeniably beautiful and pleasing to the mind and the imagination that, looking back only a few weeks, I now don’t know if it really was an old wheel trim or in fact a golden crown just disguised as such. How much of truth is like that?”

Read Simon’s brief history of The Shed door:

Buy Simon’s original photograph of the shed door:

Andrew Brown 1996 (as told at the Norwich GA for morning worship)

Andrew Brown is a musician and journalist for BASSIST Magazine.