We owe to the same tendency toward heraldic amplification one of the most astounding documents of late mediaeval sculpture, which marks the high point of the expansion of wind man iconography into areas originally reserved for other types of art. The façade of the church of San Gregorio in Valladolid, built between 1488 and 1496, during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, is distinguished by the unique and shocking device of placing the wild men on the jambs of the portal, that is, in that location on the building which, since the beginning of Gothic architecture, had been reserved for the figures of the prophets and the saints. The wild men appear on the jambs proper, on the frontal wall of the doorway, and even on its outer side, making a further appearance on the highest level of the façade.
The intrusion of the pagan creatures into those parts of the church which had always been adorned with important sacred figures seems puzzling until it is realized that the whole church front, with the exception of the tympanum, is conceived as one large heraldic showpiece in honor of the king and queen and their relationship to the see of Toledo. The key to all that seems unusual lies therefore in the panel above the doorway containing the royal coat of arms and the tree and fountain of life in which it is rooted. Once it is understood that the rest of the façade is to be read as the heraldic accompaniment of this central triumphant theme, one will comprehend also why there should be heralds on the side, wild men in the doorways, and finally fleurs-de-lis in the coats of arms held by angels over the spandrels; for the fleur-de-lis, emblem of the Virgin Mary and of her purity, was also the emblem of the see of Toledo, which thus proclaims its participation and interest in what, after all, is the decoration of a sacred building.
In this combination of heraldic elements the wild men function as the outer guardians who are closest to the visitors of the church and furthest removed from the symbolic splendor of the royal shield. They are thus given the same humble position which they hold as festival police in many contemporary pageants, ecclesiastical and secular. It is interesting to note, in light of what has been said before, that, although deprived of their former task of upholding the royal coat of arms, the wild men all have their own shields, inscribed with masks and ornamental designs.