St Mary’s Priory, Little Dunmow, Essex (3/3)

The previous post for St Mary’s Priory church at Little Dunmow in Essex reported on the last of the graffiti inside the church, but before I move on to the external graffiti, I would like to start with something different.

Pevsner Architectural Guide for Essex describes the animal carvings over the blind arcade under the south windows as ‘charming’. They are indeed charming, including farm animals with the addition of a monkey, a bat and a squirrel, which I have never seen elsewhere. They need to be better known, so I hope we can be forgiven for including them in this post. I would also like to highlight the carving of a bearded, long-haired male figure petting a small animal with one hand while cradling something else in the other. It is rare to see the interaction of humans and animals in church carvings and even rarer to see what appears to be a very modern scene of man and pet relaxing.

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The rest of the graffiti atSt Mary’s is outside, around the west doorway. Apart from one clear outline of a shoe, it is entirely made up of names and initials. The weathering has made many of the letters indistinct, but it is clear that this area has been subject to tourist carving for a couple of centuries.

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See this post for location and address details.

Report by Anthea Hawdon

Search terms: I, deep dot mark, other marks, 30, D, X, P, IG, M, L, L, IM, W, L, e, LI, 7, coin holes, JMP, other marks, W, F, V, 7, WL, W, IM, Foot/shoe, RF, JP, M, CT, W, 1807, HP, JJ, JD, WA, JP, ILB. FV, V, BH, TI+, IR, I, 45, IX, WM, PJ, HG, script, IX, WM, PJ, HG, script, Port, ST, J, L, W, FR, R, LI, JN, R, D, SH, R, IB, IT, W, FD, 17, S, V, W, P, J, E, H, F, NE, WL, LR, IU, W, M, HH, C, G, SR, P, PF, Ford, 1800, AU, NB, S, BI, W, W, DL, Y, IS, JP, DT, FT, DT, ST, W, N, P, 1822