DEPARTING from its normal focus on family and local history, the May meeting of Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group welcomed Andrew Macdonald to Kelsale Village Hall to deliver his excellent talk, fully titled ‘Staring at Walls – Graffiti in Religious and Secular Buildings from Medieval to Modern’.
Interested in history for most of his adult life, Andrew helped found the Waveney Valley Archaeology Group in 2013. Shortly afterwards, he began to explore medieval and post-medieval graffiti in religious and secular buildings. Nowadays, he and his wife spend much of their time seeking out and recording new examples of the musings of erstwhile ‘Banksies’, permanently etched in stone or wood in buildings across the country.
Interestingly, we first learned that, far from being regarded as anti-social, early forms of graffiti were fully accepted
edeal rafi al drew adoald to Andrew’s
and often carved into the once bright walls of church interiors. Andrew’s wide-ranging talk, accompanied by many impressive pictures, then took us on an enjoyable tour through the various categories of graffiti, which he broadly summarised as:
Apotrapaic - intended to ward off evil spirits and consisting of various patterns, including hexfoils, peltas and the more widely recognised Star of David and pentangles. Devotional - typically taking the form of a simple cross. Signalling troubled times, often reflecting the date of tumultuous events, such as the Great Plague of 1666 or the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Memorial – by which individuals recorded their initials or, in some cases, full names, for posterity, reminding future generations that ‘I was here’.
Secular – covering a wide range of images, including armorial bearings, marks left by masons or merchants to
witness their presence and other ‘doodles’ captured in images of ships, animals, human figures and musical instruments, to name but a few.
Throughout his presentation, Andrew was at pains to stress that many aspects of the subject and the meaning of the graffiti is very much open to conjecture. as
a relatively new area
This is because, of
focus for academics, research is handicapped by the lack of comparable material and established research guidelines. Indeed, in one major text to which Andrew’s contribution is acknowledged, the author Matt Champion, writes ‘The little already written on the subject tends to consist largely of site-specific studies of a single church, which do little to help understand the larger themes and bigger picture. A quick read of the published literature soon makes you feel as if you are using a magnifying glass to examine an elephant’. A lively question and answer session proved to be a testament
enthusiasm for his subject matter, as well as the broad knowledge he has acquired in a relatively short time.
For those wishing to know more about this fascinating subject, Matt Champion’s book, ‘Medieval Graffiti – The Lost Voices of England’s Churches’, published by Ebury Press, is widely available.
also plentiful online material, including the excellent website of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey (URL: http:// www.medieval-graffiti.co.uk/ page40.ht
ml) where some of the images used in Andrew’s presentation can be found. No doubt all of those in attendance will be keeping an eye out for graffiti when they next visit a church, even if they don’t feel moved to scratching their own memorial on a chancel pillar or the back of a pew!
EVERY year on the second Saturday of September
Suffolk Historic Churches Trust Sponsored Bike Ride Saturday 14th September 9 am - 5 pm the
Sponsored Bike Ride takes place.
This popular event raises by far the greater part of the Trusts' income, which is distributed in its entirety to the churches and chapels of Suffolk.
Last September you raised just over £139,103. This total exceeded our expectations and shows the enthusiasm and generosity of our riders, helpers and sponsors is undiminished. The Bike Ride supports our ancient churches and places of worship in the county, and gets people out and about in our beautiful countryside. The
event is open to
walkers, cyclists and Vintage & Classic cars. Obtain your sponsorship form from your Local Organiser listed below, who will also have a list of participating churches to enable you to plan your route and have a fantastic day out! Every
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participating church is encouraged to provide refreshments and some will have a loo available. Walkers may visit the first church by car or public transport then walk to each church on their chosen route prior to taking transport home from the last church to be visited. Sponsorship forms contain full details of procedures that should be followed to ensure you have a superb day out. The Churches and Chapels open on the day are manned by volunteer recorders, who welcome visitors and record their arrival on the sponsorship form. If you do not wish to
cycle to support this excellent charity, why not volunteer as a recorder at your local church or chapel and ask for a sponsorship form for your friends so they may sponsor your support! Vintage & classic car drivers, if you wish to participate in this Tour and Rally, please e-mail pedalanddrive@ gmail.co
m with the Subject "APPLICATION & your name". Entry is £40 per car. You will be sent an entry form with payment details by return. As with bicyclists, walkers and church recorder's sponsoring, we hope car entrants will invite friends & family to support the cause. There will be a magnum of champagne for the car owner who has raised the most sponsorship. Around the county a number of historic
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at the afternoon rally on the Upper Green at Long Melford, CO10 9DN where you will be welcomed with a cup of tea and homemade cakes. There will be a glittering host of machines to admire! There will be a quiz to enter and champagne prizes for the quiz winner, for the best dressed team and so on. Judging will be at 3.30pm. All proceeds to SHCT. The Local Organisers in your local area are:- Aldeburgh St Peter & St Paul's Church - Mrs Frances Smith,
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Aldeburgh Baptist Chapel - Elizabeth Smith, Aldeburgh Our Lady & St Peter RC Church - Father Tony Rogers, Aldringham St Andrew's Church - John Herbert, Carlton St Peter's Church - Paul Harvey, Friston St Mary's Church - Simon Ive, Kelsale cum Carlton St Mary's & St Peter's Church - David May, Knodishall St Lawrence's Church - Mrs R MacAllister, Knodishall Methodist Chapel -
Helen Barker, Leiston St
Margaret's Church - Patricia Carter, Leiston United Reformed / Methodist Church - Marion Sillett, Leiston Baptist Church
Joker 100 Centenary Event 14th July 2019, 10pm-4pm
is an historic
centenary month for one of our best loved exhibits at the Long Shop Museum. Our Unique Garrett Suffolk Punch Steam Tractor “The Joker” turns 100 years old July 15th. She was dispatched 100 years earlier from the famous Leiston based Garrett Engineering works to a local Suffolk farmer in Tunstall. It is now the unique survivor of this class of steam vehicle. The Joker will also be sharing its birthday with our oldest museum volunteer, who will also be celebrating 100 years this year.
- Mark Oxborrow, Leiston All Saints RC Church - Father Tony Rogers, Leiston Quaker Meeting House - Seija Tattersall, Saxmundham St John the Baptist - Fran Raven, Saxmundham United Reformed Church - Mrs G Newson, Kelsale, Methodist Chapel - Jean Jones.
Best wishes and enjoy the day out!
Rupert Hannen Area Organiser
Suffolk Historic Churches Trust www.shct.org.uk/
There is also a brand new exhibition dedicated to 1919 being launched at these birthday celebrations that depicts the history of this fascinating engine and also the huge amount of social change that was happening in Leiston just after the first world war. A host of activities are being planned throughout the day to keep those of all ages entertained. Including a display of traction engine and Steam Rollers that were built in 1919. We will also have the “Steam Up barbecue” and a great selection of refreshments in our tea room. Come along and make this a Birthday to remember. We will be open from 10am- 4pm, adults £8, children £4, young adults £6.
The Long Shop Museum is based on the former site
of Garretts Works and has a wonderful collection of steam powered machines and other
feats of engineering.
See www.longshopmuseum. co.uk
for further details about the museum, it’s events programme, including school
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