From multiple sources I've read of legends regarding one or two giants, Gogmagog or Gog and Magog. It appears in Irish and English folklore, as well as other regional tales.

Gogmagog was a legendary giant in Welsh and later English mythology. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae ("The History of The Kings of Britain", 12th century), he was a giant inhabitant of Albion, thrown off a cliff during a wrestling match with Corineus (a companion of Brutus of Troy). Gogmagog was the last of the Giants found by Brutus and his men inhabiting the land of Albion. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gogmagog_(giant)

Moreover, it also appears in biblical texts as an antagonist against God's people.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. [Revelation 20:7-10] https://www.biblica.com/bible/?osis=niv:Revelation%2020:7%E2%80%9310

An annual festival in England, called the Lord Mayor's Show, parades effigies of Gog and Magog through the City of London. The show dates back to the 16th century.

The Lord Mayor's Show is one of the best-known annual events in London as well as one of the longest-established, dating back to the 16th century. ... The Lord Mayor's Show is centred on a street parade, which in its modern form is a light-hearted combination of traditional British pageantry and elements of carnival. ... Gog and Magog are two woven willow giant reproductions of a pair of statues in the Guildhall. These popular icons reflect the pre-Roman legendary past of the City of London and they too are paraded by volunteers from The Guild of Young Freemen each year. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Mayor%27s_Show Lord Mayor's Show

Statues of Gog and Magog can be found throughout the city, notably at the Guildhall (built in 1440) where they are described as the Guardians of the City of London.

Two giants, Gog and Magog, are associated with Guildhall. Magog https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildhall,_London

How did the Church of England view these events which involves parading (pagan era) effigies of Gog and Magog?

Although there doesn't appear to be any relation of the legend to the Biblical narrative, I would've still expected the Church (at least in the 16th century) to view these with contempt, issue an edict against them, or ban them altogether. But I have been unable to source any such proclamation. In fact, I haven't been able to find ANY information on the Church's interaction with the legends or the festivals.

  • 3
    Well, this is the same church that (according to Beade at least) repurposed the name and timing of the festival of the Norse fertility Goddess Eostre, complete with rabbits. Sometimes its better to Embrace and Extend. Otherwise you may just end up like the American fundamentalists fighting a 200-year losing battle with Halloween.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 3, 2021 at 21:54
  • @T.E.D. I can understand that bit but I'm specifically looking for any interaction or verdicts by the Church on the concept. Even if it favors the legend.
    – Samid
    Jun 3, 2021 at 21:58
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    I believe that T.E.D is correct. Look at Christmas, basically a repurposed Saturnalia. It seems that the church was at least somewhat involved in this ceremony at the time. You may want to find and read the "A Cultural History of the Early Modern Lord Mayor's Show, 1585-1639"
    – EvanM
    Jun 3, 2021 at 23:46
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    I think you'll find that at least the names of the legendary Gog/Magog came from the Bible. There's no easy way (and certainly no reliable way) to unravel the interactions between Christianity and the stories and beliefs of pre-literate Britons through the millennium leading up to the 12th century Historia.
    – Mark Olson
    Jun 4, 2021 at 13:55
  • @T.E.D. But these legends appear hundreds of years AFTER the Church was established in the region. It isn't like Saturnalia which predated the Christian religion. There is no known source of the gogmagog legends predating the church.
    – Samid
    Jan 30, 2023 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


I would've still expected the Church (at least in the 16th century) to view these with contempt, issue an edict against it, or ban it altogether.

The Church of England does not seem to have ever taken the Book of Revelation terribly seriously. The modern-day Church regards it as "difficult to interpret" and doesn't try. It has never embraced biblical inerrancy as doctrine, let alone infallibility or literalism.

The kinds of interpretative frameworks that attempt to find meanings for everything in the Bible, or forecast the end times in detail, are utterly alien to the Church of England. Its historical role has been to provide for the basic religious needs of everyone who comes to it, and that simply isn't compatible with taking positions on legendary creatures that are possibly named after things in the Bible, but have no plausible connection with them.

Another example: the Gog Magog Hills' name is first attested in 1574.

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    That is a very Anglican /Protestant view, and before the Reformation, even too an extent after, England was essentially Catholic.
    – TheHonRose
    Dec 21, 2022 at 22:58

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