St Michael, Great Sampford, Essex (1/3)

You only need to walk around the exterior of St Michael in Great Sampford to realise that it has a history of rebuilding. Somewhat unusually this rebuilding was mostly confined to the 14th century. The church had been under the jurisdiction of Battle Abbey in Sussex and the Knights Hospitaller took the original church and turned it into the south chapel and built the rest of what is now St Michael’s around it. The chancel has 26 bay seats which were said to have been the seats of the knights.

South Aisle & South Porch Graffiti

Among the scattering of Marian marks, concentric circles, daisy wheels and cross hatching is a great example of seven interlocking circles within a larger circle. Also of note, though a modern interpretation, is a fortuitous conjunction of a small compass circle within a large one, that looks for all the world like the Star Wars Death Star.

There are several crosses on the columns.

The rest of the graphic images are made up of faces, a shield and a very precisely drawn interlaced design. There is also a faint example of script.

The parish chest or cupboard dates to the early 17th century and is made of oak. It has a few initials on it and a Marian mark.

The rest of the graffiti is made up of memorials and names and initials. The earliest dates are 17th century.

Report by Anthea Hawdon

St Michael
Great Sampford
Saffron Walden
CB10 2RS

The church is usually open within daylight hours.

Search terms: Circle (compass drawn), Crosses, Marian mark, W, Cross, cross hatching, Concentric circles (hand drawn), dot pattern, Compass circles (interlinked), daisy wheel (interlinked), butterfly cross, other marks, Marian mark, M, Grid, BI, Rectangle, face, shield, interlaced design, script, I, carpenters mark, GG, 1925, 12 4, other marks, T Ely, AD 1792, chest, parish chest, TB, RO, 1966, R, S, AC, DT, TS, Robert Hotleth, 1626, I, RG, John, Macy, WM 1810, RAF, TF, SI, A, SI, DI, WH, 1791, WR, TB, 1762, IX, AD, BC, AW, AD, RA, R, R, R, R, B, B, BB, AD, D, A, D, D, D, D, AD, BC, AW, AD, script, MI, Pencil marks, 1926, Bob, AD, HD, FD, R Gouldstone, Churchwarden, 1878, A Dreme, Verger of G Sampford, Feb 17 , 1916, LB, 1-69, HB, ES, RF, IB (defaced), WS, TS 1691, W Norris, Bert, AR, 1616, 1656, memorials, ER, IR, IR, TM, DR, memorial,ED, W, other marks, AR, 6, FW, PH, E, I, I, R, memorial, SW, 656, RS, ER, ER, T, T, T, HAL, W, W, W, 1920s, 1900s, 1790s, 1700s, 1960s, 1620s, 1600s, 1810s, 1800s, 1870s, 1650s, 1610s, 1690s, 1650s