St George, Anstey, Hertfordshire
St George’s church, Anstey, dates back to the 12th century with additions and changes in the 13th to 15th centuries. It is thought that some stones used in the church’s construction came from the nearby Anstey castle. Violet Pritchard has made extensive notes on the church in her book, English Medieval Graffiti.
There are three carts illustrated in Anstey’s graffiti. Two are upright, one is incompletely drawn and is standing on one end. One stone block holds an upright cart on one face and the one standing on its end on another face. There are two possibilities. The first is that the stone originally had one cart, correctly positioned, then the stone was reused with the cart now shown on its end. The rest of the graffiti on the block was subsequently drawn in the correct way up. The other possibility is that all the drawings were done with the stone in situ and the up-ended cart was always meant to be drawn that way. Until more evidence comes to light we may never know the correct solution to this puzzle.
There are several items of architectural drawings.
There are a large number of graffiti shields scattered around the church. There arealso a couple of crested helms with elaborate decoration of a horse with bridle and a ragged staff. Pritchard speculates about the owners of the shields and the helms but cannot come to any fixed conclusion due to the lack of colour, which is so vital to heraldry.
Other marks of note include daisy wheels, compass circles, concentric circles, Marian marks, crosses, dot patterns, cross hatching, a merel and a shoe.
Several names and initials are present. Interestingly a couple have been crossed out. There is also a possible merchant’s mark. The earliest date is 1595.
Report by Anthea Hawdon
Photos by Patrick Carey
Search terms: Daisy wheel (compass drawn), RB, B, other marks, concentric circles (compass drawn), other marks, W, R, T, H, daisy wheel (compass drawn), circles (compass drawn), Dot pattern, crossed lines, Possible merchant’s mark, IH, 1677, IB, other marks, CC, IH, IIY, T, T, H, Y, F, IS, 1775, RN, IF, merel, I, I, M, W, Richard, A, F, W, E, W, M, IH, HY, IB, Thomas Plumber, IMs, PF, Will, James, PF, Tames, PC, daisy wheel (compass drawn), James, A Perry 1769, Thyeg, W Witna, Nimay, RG, ADM, AH, RRG, N(reversed), IH, RY, IPW, HB, 1701, IP, IB(Reversed), shield, Thomas Hoysden, IB, Thomas Monford 1595, Thmas (erased), memorial scratched out, 163, Ho, PH, other marks, Bert, H, W, W, W, PHo, W, TG, HG, FG, RG, Navel, I, M, W, W, B, 169, IR, HW, IB, MP,Script, architecural drawing, Cross, Marian mark, M, other marks, Face, upright cart, animal, Wheel, dot patterns, crescent and star, Cart, heraldic shield, vessel, jug, vase, cross, ragged staff, Helmet horse device, shield, Cross, script, shields, ragged staff helmet device, circles (hand drawn), birds, Cross hatching, Heart cross hatched, architectural drawing