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The Hampshire Churches Medieval Graffiti Survey 2017

Dissemination of the work of the Hampshire Medieval Graffiti Project has been an important part of the activties of the group in 2017. Here, in reverse order, are details of talks or presentations about the Medieval Graffiti Survey.

Talk at St Cross, 23Nov17

Aldous Rees gave a talk to the brothers, staff & trustees.

Talk to the St. Cross Community:

  • 23rd November 2017
  • There has been a lot of interest in the survey work we are carrying out at the Hospital of St Cross, and huge support from the staff and brothers there.  They have provided us with access into parts of the building not usually open to the public, and we have made many fascinating discoveries since we began our survey in March.
  • We were therefore delighted to be invited to give a talk to the brothers, staff and Trustees about our findings so far. Aldous Rees, one of the HMGP team, gave the talk in the Brothers’ Library, highlighting the huge variety and high quality of graffiti at St Cross, ranging from medieval faces to risqué rhymes left by visiting workmen, and even a pencil sketch of the raising of the statue of King Alfred in the High Street.  
  • The talk was well attended and very well received and led to lively discussion afterwards about the nature of graffiti and possible interpretations of some of the more mysterious inscriptions found.
  • We also talked about ways to make our findings accessible to visitors in the future, for example with graffiti trails, or illustrated booklets.

Jamie Ingram oversees activities

Jamie Ingram helps visitors make their own graffiti.

Hands on Humanities Day:

  • 18th November 2017 - University of Southampton
  • One of the HMGP members, Jamie Ingram, is studying for a PhD at Southampton, and his thesis includes the analysis of graffiti left as symbols of religious devotion in places of pilgrimage.
  • He has been carrying out some experimental archaeology, using replica medieval tools to emulate the shapes and forms of medieval graffiti on limestone blocks.
  • Drawing these two strands together he provided a lively, family-friendly activity, showing illustrations of medieval graffiti found in the region, and inviting visitors to make their own graffiti on scratch boards.
  • Children and adults alike had great fun with this, and were intrigued to find out more about the subject, and the work of the HMGP.  It was very successful event and a great opportunity to engage with visitors of all ages.

Hands-On Humanities Day is part of Human Worlds Festival – an annual festival organised by the Public Engagement with Research unit (PERu) to showcase the fantastic humanities research that is taking place at the University of Southampton.

Graffiti Workshop University of Winchester

Participants at the graffiti workshop at the University of Winchester.

“Show and Tell” graffiti session on Saturday 21st October:

Dr Cindy Wood, of the University of Winchester, hosted this event in the Stripe Lecture Room.

The topics under consideration were:

  • Style and forms of graffiti
  • Categorising graffiti
  • Recording techniques and methodology
  • Storage of data
  • Access to data
  • Web site
  • Training and research opportunities
  • Form of group moving forward


However, the main thrust of the work continues to be the survey of churches, and other buildings, to assess the nature and extent of any graffiti present.

Crosses in St. Stephens, Sparsholt

Examples of crosses in St. Stephen's Sparholt.

Examples of Churches Surveyed:

  • Friday 24 March & Friday 31 March - St Michael’s Southampton
  • Saturday 22nd April - St Michael’s Basingstoke: This church is brimming with graffiti. There has been a lot of interest in this church on our Facebook pages.
  • Saturday 6th May - St Mary’s Selborne: There are a number of other interesting churches in the area, including Newton Valence, Chawton and East and West Worldham. It would be good to get a group of people together to survey the churches in this area.

Surveys completed in 2017

I’m pleased to report that we have completed a number of surveys now, including St Stephen’s Sparsholt, St Nicolas North Stoneham, St John the Baptist Upper Eldon. St Mary Michelmersh, Holyrood Southampton, Bargate Southampton  and St Maurice tower Winchester. Reports have been sent to the HER, and summaries and representative images are being posted on the HFC website.


News for 2018.