St Mary and St Clement, Clavering, Essex (4/4)

Merels and Fours
Merels and Fours

The north arcade has a wide variety of graffiti and also holds its own mystery.

North Arcade & Outside

The challenge of seeking out and recording historic graffiti lies beyond the finding and taking of pictures. The real task is to try to understand why the graffiti was made and what it meant to the person who created it. With some symbols and marks we’re getting close to knowing what they were there for and, in some rare cases, we know exactly who created it. And then there are times you can shine a light on a wall or column in a church and doubt that we will ever have a clue as to what was going on. I found a panel like that in St Mary and St Clement. On the square base of a column in the north arcade there is a set of three nine men’s morris merels (vertical) over which someone has later inscribed six number fours. That is a set of graffiti you can stand in front of for quite a while and still be no further forward to understanding either meaning or motive.

There are a large number of compass drawn circles and daisy wheels, with the best examples being on the tower arch piers.

The tower arch piers are also the location for several harp motifs.

There are numerous crosses of various styles.

The many ladders and grids that were a feature of the south arcade are also repeated in the north. There are also a few merels in the mix.

Memorials and tourist graffiti are present, of course. Unusually a couple of sets of initials have been defaced and scratched out.

There is some graffiti outside around the north door. It is mostly weathered tourist graffiti, but there is an interesting hand drawn circle with lines crossing it, perhaps an imitation of a protective daisy wheel?

Report by Anthea Hawdon.

See previous post for address and location details.

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