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Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty, Winchester

Interim survey report for the stable block

Exterior view of the stable block

This report is a summary of findings made in the north end of the range of buildings on the west side of the Outer Court. An interesting range of graffiti was discovered around the windows and doorways of both upper and lower floors. 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'.

An unusual find - face profiles, possibly utilising natural features in the stone surface, were located by windows. One example seemed to have been carved by first making small working holes, and another group of holes were found beneath it, possible a rough out for another profile? Examples of frontal views of faces were also found around the windows; the tops of the heads and eyes are clearly visible.

face profile   >face - front view
Face in profile with 'working' holes below.   A clear examples of a face.

A possible figure was found on the ground floor on the E side of the stairway entrance. There was a mass of other lines and shapes on this block so it was hard to distinguish, but it would warrant further investigation. A number of the marks found were identified as masons’ marks; these include a “butterfly” shape, a cross & arrow shape and a triangular shape.

>figure   mason's mark
The possible figure.   A Mason's Mark.

A number of crosses were found eg on the E side of stairway entrance on the ground floor. Circles were found around some windows. A number of hexfoils or daisy wheel shapes, usually believed to have an apotropaic function, were also found. Some were incomplete, some individual, and some clustered together in an intersecting pattern. A number of horizontal lines were found on the archway to the garderobe, and seem regular and deliberate so could be interpreted as tally marks.

Calvary Cross   daisy wheel   Tally marks
Detail of a cross   Daisy Wheel   Tally Marks

Initials, dates and names made up, unsurprisingly, much of the graffiti. One window has an M shape which could be 2 inverted Vs, an apotropaic symbol.

Initials with cross   initials in a square   Inverted VVs
Examples of a number of different initials.   RS 1743 within a square & triangle.   Inverted VVs.

Survey date: 4th March & 8th April 2017

Report: Karen Wardley