Historic Graffiti & Ritual Protection Marks at St James’s church, Badsey, Worcestershire (Graffiti Fest Part 2)

Friday 8th April 2022

Illustrated talk in the church – please bring a torch!

Hosted by the Badsey Society

The talk will be at 7.30pm at St James’s Church, High Street, Badsey. Worcestershire WR11 7JZ

This event is part of ‘Graffiti Fest 2022’ which includes a talk to the Simon de Montfort Society on the 7th April & a Guided Tour & Walk of the Evesham Abbey Complex at 11am on Saturday the 9th April.

The study of medieval graffiti has been in the ascendant recently, with popular books published on the subject. These mainstream publications have helped to disseminate the new interpretative frameworks and ideas which are the culmination of the last thirty years of academic research into medieval inscriptions. The re-evaluation of medieval graffiti has revealed many more subtleties and diverse meanings than hitherto imagined. Furthermore, it is now understood that similar symbols and signs can be found in domestic and farm buildings which echo those found in churches.

Graffiti can span the entire medieval period but appears to peak between AD 1650-1850 at the time of the so-called ‘witch craze’ in Europe. There are many categories now recognised, including masons’ marks, devotional and memorial inscriptions and a whole range of apotropaic symbols now believed to represent elements of ritual building protection.

A recent survey of a random sample of medieval buildings in Worcestershire has revealed a number marks and symbols carved into their masonry and woodwork. Many of these marks have been interpreted as apotropaics; ‘ritual protection marks’ intended to avert the evil-eye, bring good luck, to trap evil spirits and to act, in some cases, as counter-Witchcraft measures. 

At St James’s church in Badsey a recent survey has recorded dots, a chalice, Marian Marks and protective crosses incised into the masonry…as well as something else…evidence for an act of  ritual building protection..all will be revealed on the night….

Free to members, 2.50 non-members


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