All Saints, Rickling, Essex

All Saints, Rickling
All Saints, Rickling

All Saints Church, Rickling is an interesting church in more ways than one. For a start, the nave and the chancel are on slightly different alignments, which indicates an earlier plan than the current 14th Century one. The graffiti, also has some unique elements including compass circles of hitherto unseen design and a wealth of textual inscriptions around one door.

It is not unusual to find compass circles on the column opposite the south door into the nave, however the circles in All Saints are small and deeply incised. It is possible that they have not been made with a pair of compasses or shears, but some other tool.

The biggest surprise in All Saints is hidden. The south door to the chancel is covered with a curtain. When the curtain is pulled back, two spectacular pieces of text are revealed high up on the surround to the doorway. I wish I could say the text is contemporary with the 14th century door, but I fear that they may belong to a 19th century restoration.

However, there is extensive text within the doorway itself and it seems more likely that this is pre-restoration.

There are two sketchy outlines of human figures, one clearer than the other, but both showing clear feet at the end of stick legs.

There is the usual sprinkling of initials. IC keeps appearing again and again. Then I discovered a text saying ‘John Colle’ and I think IC may actually be JC.

The rest of the graffiti is made up of Marian marks, crosses, dot patterns, cross hatchings, shields and initials.

All Saints Church

Rickling Road/Brick Kiln Lane
Saffron Walden
CB11 3YL


Report by Anthea Hawdon

Search terms: Text, initials, DC, shield design, Hash mark square, triangle, shield, R, Saltire, square, FB, M, T, cross, butterfly cross, GB, Text, name, Thomas Langley, WI, John, R, Marian mark, M, ladder, RM, D, T, W, RF, MB, EM, Grid, AB, AD, AS, IC, dot pattern, compass circles (concentric), IB, baptismal cross, HN, D, oval, cross hatching, IH, human figure, Mass dial style circle, C, Cross potent, ER, angular marks, John Colle, h, JC, decorated cross