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St Andrew, Mottisfont

Postcode: SO51 0LL Grid Ref: SU325267 CHR No: 641295

Exterior view of St Andrew's Church, Mottisfont 

Photo 1: Exterior of St Andrew's, Mottisfont

This church is Grade 1 Listed. It consists of a nave and chancel with a shingled bell-turret at the west end. Its earliest features are the early 12th century nave with the impressive Norman chancel arch (Photo 2 - below). The plain round-headed south doorway, now leading into the vestry, is of a similar date, as is the font basin. The chancel was remodelled in the late 14th and early 15th century when the fine east window was installed, and the west end of the nave extended to include the west doorway. The timber supports for the belfry are 15th century. Restoration took place in 1874, when the pews and galleries were removed, and from 1880 to 1890.

Norman chancel arch

Photo 2: Interior looking east to the chancel arch

Graffiti Summary

Most of the historical graffiti found within the church is scratched onto the large standing monument on the south side of the chancel (Photo 3). This memorial is described in Pevsner as being in “the Italian Renaissance tradition of Bishop Gardiner’s Chantry at Winchester Cathedral, but not a sophisticated work” and may be connected with the Sandys family, because of its local ties.

Chancel Monument

Photo 3: The Chancel Monument

The graffiti includes names and initials, some of which are repeated several times. At the top of the monument, on the panel running above the central cartouche is a name which is hard to decipher, as it includes some superscripts which may stand for missing letters, or which could just represent a fancy flourish by the maker. The first letter is an S in the form of double F (ff) and may be Siman (Simon), and the surname may be Ellioatt (Elliott)(Photo 4).

Graffito - Simon Elliot 

Photo 4: Chancel monument, top panel. Name Siman Ellioatt (?Simon Elliott)

Another name, in an unusual script, reads Margeri hering (a common surname in the 16th and 17th centuries) (Photo 5). It seems the writer made a few attempts to write this, as the first part of the name appears twice to the left of the full inscription. Above the name is a device consisting of a circle with lines radiating out from it, flanked by the initials M and H. The circular device is repeated lower down on the monument but is less deeply incised.

Graffito - Margeri hering 

Photo 5: Chancel monument. Margeri Hering

More initials are carved into the panels below the kneeling figures, and include RC again, JC, PH, MH twice, and dated initials: WM 1715 and CG 1845. One of the cartouches, on the far right, also has a pattern of lines and dots at the bottom, whose significance is unknown (Photo 6).

Lower cartouche on the chancel monument  

Photo 6: Chancel monument, lower cartouche, far right. Initials and pattern

The pews and vestry walls

More recent graffiti occurs on the wooden pews, which were installed in 1876. This includes caricatures of people and names and initials. It is often said that such graffiti was made by “naughty choirboys” and this is actually borne out at St Andrew’s as C Hutchens, 14, (Photo 7 ) and S Johnson both wrote their names, each helpfully labelling himself as a choirboy.

Graffito - C Hutchens, choirboy 

Photo 6: Church pew, south side. Choir boy C Hutchens 14

The church exterior:

All the graffiti found on the church exterior was around the west doorway (Photo 7) on both north and south sides. This graffiti is very weathered, consisting of initials made by those entering the church. The pairs of initials WH, WC and RP and single letters I and C on the south jamb are the most legible.

The west doorway 

Photo 7: West doorway

Acknowledgements

  • We would like to express our thanks to the Rev Philip Bowden for allowing us access to the church, and to church warden Trish Armstrong for welcoming us to St Andrew’s, and for providing us with a splendid array of hot drinks, biscuits and buns, which were all very welcome on such a cold day.
  • Thanks also go to John Hare for sharing his extensive knowledge on the history of the Holy Ghost chapel at Basingstoke, and its potential links with St Andrew’s.
  • Special thanks go to our survey group members, Mark Barden and Mike Grover, for producing the plans and diagrams showing the graffiti locations.

Survey Archive

164 photographs were taken during the survey. All images and record sheets are held by the Hampshire Field Club Medieval Graffiti Project archive and are available on request. A copy of this report has been lodged with the Hampshire Historic Environment Record and with the church, and reports have been posted on the HFC website.

Disclaimer

This document has been prepared for the titled project or named part hereof and should not be relied upon or used for any other project or assessment without the permission of the Hampshire Medieval Graffiti Project.

The full report is available as a PDF download.

Surveyors: Helen Banham, Mark Barden, Mike Goddard, Mike Grover, Martin Kirby, Karen Parker, Karen Wardley.

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