Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Holy graffiti

vicar and grafitti - comp

Thats me c 5/6 years ago and I was pictured by the local press ( now, there’s a surprise!)  in the newly created toilet at Sheepy Magna Church – it was crafted  out of the old vestry and when the walls were stripped down some old graffiti came to light – S M 1656 it reads – just a bit before the 1662 Prayer Book was issued. The area used to be the ringers territory so maybe a bell-ringer got bored and thought he would inscribe his name for all time on the wall. Anyone who uses the loo now can spend a pleasant time reading these initials and wondering who they were. Little Paxton Church has plenty of carved initials in its bell tower on ground floor level and Im sure many other churches have to. Have you ever sat in a choir pew and tried to fathom out the carvings of initials and names that choristers have crafted?

If you want to see some truly fascinating graffiti in a church, visit St Mary’s at Gamlingay – The Friends of St Mary’s have published a book all about these ancient graffiti available at the church.

http://www.gamlingaychurch.co.uk/m_27.asp

The oldest graffiti in the church dates back to 14th Century and reads in Latin:

” mors coparat umbre que semper sequiture corpus”  – which as you all know translates: ” death is like a shadow which always follows the body”.

Cheery stuff – but it would have been written at the time of the plague of 1349 – and as Latin was only known by the clergy and land owners, this was someone of standing who felt moved to record this solemn verse. There are many more doodles and truly fascinating pictures to be seen in St Marys- highly recommended.

August 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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