Tuesday, 14 August 2012

We find graffiti at Wootton Wawen.

The ten minute walk into Wootton Wawen revealed a pleasant English village,

a splendid looking pub, The Bulls Head, alas it was still morning and its doors were firmly closed, whatever happened to opening hours starting at 1030?

The Hall nestled amid parkland

and the old vicarage still displayed its fire insurance plaque.

In those days the fire brigades were organised by the insurance companies, if your house caught fire but didn't display the right plaque when the fire fighters turned up it was best you looked for a bucket of water. I stand to be corrected but I believe this was the symbol of the Sun Insurance Company.
But eclipsing all the secular buildings is the parish Church of St. Peter's.

The oldest church in Warwickshire, large parts of it are Saxon dating back to at least the 10thC.
By the south door we found, carved into the stonework

these crosses, probably carved by pilgrims before they set off on their journey or, more romantically, crusaders as they prepared to give their lives in defence of the Holy Land. The latter is highly unlikely but it adds a bit of drama.

The lower section of the tower is the Saxon sanctuary of the minster church that once stood here

and has a walled up Saxon door at the base, although the stained glass is modern.

Inside the sanctuary it's a bit short of space so it is impossible to get a picture of all of it.

John Harewell, died 1428, his coat of arms had hare's heads and wavy lines on it, this was a rebus (heraldic pun) on hare and well, oh how they must have laughed down at the College of Heralds when they thought that one up. But to my delight we found

that over the years the locals had added to the carving on the knight.

This is clearly 16xx. The graffiti artists who carved these were obviously of a higher social standing than the illiterate agricultural workers.

Puzzled by these markings carved into the helmet, they obviously had some significance to whoever carved them, any ideas anyone?

Even Frank Smith, lord of the Manor of Wootton, died 1605, hasn't escaped the attention of the secret carvers.

Who was John Arnold who, in 1787, was moved to carve his name on Frank's leg?
As usual I've been carried away by finding these memorials to the unknown people of England. To be honest I would rather have gone drinking with John than Frank.
This post is already far to long so I will just say

Watch this space..........

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