‘Historic Graffiti & Ritual Protection Marks in the Worcestershire Churches’

Main image: You need hands! The stone bench inside the porch of St Peter in Little Comberton, Worcestershire is festooned with hand outlines, faux heraldry and Marian marks.

An ongoing survey of the churches within the county of Worcestershire has recorded a large corpus of historic graffiti and inscriptions in the Medieval buildings of the county.

As well as recording a large quantity of initials and dates, a number of so-called ‘ritual protection marks’ or ‘apotropaics’ have been identified – which seem to have been added to the building to provide another ‘layer of protection.’ These may have been made to address a range of cultural fears of the day which would may have included a desire to avert the effects of the evil eye (or the fear of being ‘overlooked’), the presence of unwanted spirits or demons, or a response to the threat of malignant witchcraft (malficium).

Copious amounts of graffiti create a palimpsest of symbols, letter and initials within the porch of St Nicholas, Pinvin, Worcestershire. The church claims that the reclaimed stone blocks were re-used following the demolition of Evesham Abbey.
Photo: © W Perkins 2021

The talk will illustrate a range of these within the county then open out the discussion to compare the corpus with regional, national and international examples.

An Illustrated Talk by Wayne Perkins.

‘In Person’ only

Saturday 11th March 2023 @ 2pm.

Hosted by: South Worcestershire Archaeology Group (S.W.A.G.)

Venue: Callow End Village Hall, Upton Road, Callow End, Worcestershire WR2 4TA

Tickets: Members free. Guests £2

Details/registration: suepsouthwick@gmail.com

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