St Andrew's south west porch window

This time last year I had no idea that there was such a thing as church graffiti be that medieval or otherwise. Graffiti (with the occasional witty exception) was crass at best and criminal damage at worst. I know this, because once, in my previous employment I was tasked with taking a digital camera around a section of Essex photographing graffiti tags. Roll forwards some years and I find myself sat in Clare church listening to Matt Champion talking about medieval graffiti and my perception about graffiti changed. Go and have a look at the Norfolk medieval graffiti survey or if you live in Suffolk sneak a peek at the Suffolk site.


There is something a bit strange about graffiti be it ancient or modern. We are encouraged, almost conditioned, to block graffiti out, to ignore it, especially when it occurs in places where it shouldn't. Graffiti after all is a close cousin to vandalism and not something that should be tolerated. When in church you simply don't see the graffiti.......unless you are looking for it!
Allow me to present this first piece of evidence. This was one of the parish churches of my childhood. I know my father took me to services here, yet even as a child I didn't see this. HOW could I have missed it!
Saint Andrews church is covered in graffiti, layers upon layers of it. So much so that I'm going to have to break it down into blog bites to share it although I've got no idea what half of it means
 
........and my position on 21st c graffiti?  There is no real need to indulge in it - no one has to use a wall to write on. Maybe when the stone was the only support available, but now if you can afford a spray can then you can afford a piece of paper.
 
I say this slightly tongue in cheek and realise that I am probably missing a point or two about modern graffiti subculture. Whatever my feelings I accept that graffiti is a persistent and stubborn little phenomenon. Maybe I'll even learn to love the modern stuff?