St George's church Wyverstone

Wyverstone church may have reasonably modern window glass, but some of its fixtures and fittings are very old indeed. It also doesn't face exactly east it is some six degrees out (towards the North). 
Personally I love a heavy door with a bolt that slides into the wall.
 That smacks of a certain seriousness of purpose.
Although the rood has obviously seen better days; I think that is allowed; seeing as it is from .... well very early, maybe even the 14th c (that's what this report from the British Listed Building website  suggests).
I was taking a look at it when a slightly suspicious parishioner followed me in. She had seen me enter, thought it odd and come to investigate. Now telling someone you are looking for graffiti isn't the sort of thing that generally allays fears so I ended up explaining myself in quite a lot of depth.
Then I showed her what I had found;  the ubiquitous initials... 

The crosses (this one was quite high up in the window space)
a couple of things I can't make head nor tail of.

Sometimes you think to yourself " IS that graffiti or not?"
Take these "tally marks". Now they have quite obviously been scored into the stone. To what end though? What are they?
Then there are tantalising glimpse of places that could have held graffiti, but that can now not be got at. The rood screen stairs, blocked at both the bottom and the top.


By this point the parishioner felt reassured that I was no threat, and had told me all about how the rood screen had been found in a pigsty before being bought back to the church, and how the roof of the church had been lowered. I love talking to people who are passionate about their churches.

Then we parted company, she to get chairs for the next day's funeral, me to look at the other end of the lifespan, the font. Some fine scratches came to light.

Then just before we pull the main doors close I notice a few more initials.

Paycockes in Coggeshall

Moving on from the  Paycocke brasses at St Peters through Coggeshall itself is the house most closely associated with the Paycocke family. I couldn't get in because the National Trust don't open it on a Monday, so instead I contented myself photographing the absolutely exquisite carvings that cover the outside.

The Paycocke family came from Clare (over the border in Suffolk) in the 14th century. Thomas Paycocke died in 1461, and was believed to have been a butcher in Coggeshall
  Some people say it was a John Paycocke, who built this beautiful house. Although he was also described as being a butcher he was doing very well for himself and owned a large field in Church Street. Meat and wool go together and two of his three sons became clothiers.
    Others reckon that it was John's son Thomas who commissioned the West Street house to live in with his wife. Whatever the facts of the matter the  youngest son Thomas got this house, another son Robert also got a house left to him and yet a third house was willed to John's widow, the boys' mother. Times must have been good! I don't know what happened to his namesake son John though. Did he get a house too?

You know, I look at the carvings and wonder "why is that Dragon upside down?" "Does it mean anything?"
An angelic design, reminds me of some misericords I've seen before
Foliage and flowers...
This design in the shield is the Paycocke merchant mark. It was this that I was hoping might be  graffiti'd in the church

I imagine that this twisted creature is a sheep (which incidentally were smaller in stature then). I've done a lot of reading around sheep and it seems the poor feeding conditions in the middle ages were actually conducive in producing very, very fine wool; as fine as the contemporary merino sheep. 
Sadly as time marches on English wool becomes coarser and the Spanish wool overtakes as a superior product.
Can you see the man disappearing down the trumpet flower?

Oh hang on - there's the rest of him reappearing!
It's obviously quite a good game.

I hope these figures are supposed to represent Thomas and his wife Margaret (nee Harrold)  They certainly had a beautiful home.

St Peter ad Vincula's Coggeshall

Today I went to Coggeshall - to see the church of St Peter ad Vincula (Peter in chains).

It has a double level porch, which has in the past doubled as living accommodation and an archive, People have been worshiping here since the Anglo Saxon period so even though I knew that a significant part of the church had been rebuilt after being bombed I was hopeful for some old graffiti inside.
 I'll cut straight to the chase. I was disappointed; there was nothing to be found.
Admittedly the organ was being renovated and the lady chapel was closed so I couldn't get around all of the church, but essentially you could see it was clean. Clean plasterwork, cleaned pillars, modern seating.
There was a lovely feeling of active life in the church and there was a good deal of bustle with people coming and going. Which I suppose is how things should be.

As consolation I decided to look at the brasses
 John and Johanne Paycocke circa 1533

 Johanne (Joan) is very seemly with her cap and her coif and her pinner around her shoulders. Her sleeves are turned back (revers/ reversed) and you can see her close fitting shift sleeves. When you look closely at her waist she has a sash tied in a loop and the circular detail to the right had edge of her skirt (which is looped up and not an apron as first glance suggests), is I fancy a skirt hook.
Her attire reminds me of the Englishwoman by Hans Holbein the younger, albeit with a cap instead of a veil.
Her husband on the other hand is looking very sensible in a split sleeved gown and square toed shoes

Similar to this chap - Thomas? Paycocke 1580
Sporting a short sleeved version of a mans gown, but essentially the same garment.


Outside I found a little graffiti. J S either 1928 or 1728, I can't decide
I imagine that the darkness within a scratch line is dirt, which increases with age. But I don't know that for sure.

Otherwise it is all modern stuff.

There is a nice door, the hinge suggestive of a cockerels head...
The doorknob the sun...
 the bottom hinge two crescent moons.