St Nicholas, Elmdon, Essex
St Nicholas church in Elmdon Essex has a 15th century tower, but the rest of the church was completely rebuilt in the 19th century. This has wiped the nave and chancel clear of graffiti barring a few faint initials on the 16th century tomb of Thomas Meade in the chancel.
However, behind a curtain at the side of the organ (dating to 1860), is the original hand pump for the bellows and graffiti left by the children who pumped it.
The artwork is the most charming, ranging from faces and animals to a penny farthing bicycle.
There are signatures with ages, initials and what must be rotas for organ duty. There are declarations of love and the enigmatic message ‘Jam Sarnie’. I don’t know if that’s an expression of hunger or someone who acquired that nickname. And there is a touch of warning or paranoia in the text that ‘He talks about us’.
The church is usually open during daylight hours. There is very limited street parking on Ickleton Rd.
Report by Anthea Hawdon
Search terms: Thomas Meade’s tomb, E, I, M, P, N, JM, AM, NP, EJ, Face 87, December 4th 1948, K Hayes loves Gillian Andrews, Names, Aug 59, M Cow, PIMP loves Gina Haylock, initials, rota, GJ, WH, PJ, Laurch, 87, Age 12, Jam Sarnie, Hess Clarke, Daisy Richard, Horse and rider, IH l GHV, 1924, Molly Law age 14 June, GH, He talks about us, 1928, LL, TE, AF, P, WH, Patter, WC, DE, BA, 1936, K Hayes, 7/12/59, EJP, Chinese face, face, Penny farthing bicycle, Dot patterns, face, DH, WH aged 13 March, WH aged, Nov 23, WH aged 8 March 1916, WH aged Nov 23 1924, wheeled machine, Face, new, initials rota, WA, EP, Dec 5 1923, 1924, DN, DR, EL, RH, DF, PG, WH, PS, DG