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All Saints, Dummer

The church, first mentioned 1198 and with probable Norman masonry, has a simple nave and chancel with a west porch and bell turret. The c1200 chancel arch has a squint on the s side, and a niche for the reredos of a lay altar on the n side. Rare 17th century bell ringers’ rules are painted in black on the belfry wall.

A significant amount of graffiti was found in the porch, around the inner and outer doorways, and around the two porch windows. In the main body of the church there were a few crosses on the chancel arch, and in a line of crosses along a ledge on the south side of the chancel. Within the porch were a number of compass drawn circles and hexfoils, including one very elaborate pattern of interlaced double circles. There were also several VV symbols, some inverted to form an M, crosses, masons’ marks, and some possible music notation. There were also a lot of initials, some boxed, and dates. RP was particularly prolific.

Most interesting was the image of a horned head on the N side of the porch doorway, which the church warden referred to as a Devil. The head has well defined horns and ears, but to the surveyors’ eyes, looks like an ox head. The head has a neck, which ends in a zig zag line, which is reminiscent of a mummer’s costume head. Next to this head is another, fainter, head, also referred to by the church warden as a devil, but looking more like a horse to the surveyors. Again, this head seems to have a neck ending in a zig zag line. Another suggestion for this image is that it depicts a crested helmet, similar to one at Anstey, Herts, illustrated in V Pritchard’s English Medieval Graffiti 1967. Further investigation of these images is recommended.

Photographs, taken by members of the Medieval Graffiti Survey, are shown below. Each image is linked to a larger version; to see the larger version it may be necessary to allow 'pop-ups'.

compass drawn marks   initials, crossbow & other shapes   hexfoil   porch, ox & horse heads
Examples of compass drawn circles.   Initials, a crossbow and other shapes.   A hexfoil.   The Porch - ox and horse heads.
circles   daisy wheel   Exterior view    
The Porch - interlacing circles.   A crude daisy wheel with dots.   A view from the south west showing the porch.    

Survey took place 17 June 2017.

Surveyors: Phil Howe, Lyn Hardy (church warden), Karen Parker, Karen Wardley