St Mary's Bawdsey

 
Sometimes churches diminish. Where there were once aisles there is now turf, and arches are filled in  with bricks. No church stays static, the building is periodically remodelled and in this instance the west door becomes the front door.

The graffiti at Bawdsey is in a typical place on the tower. It seems like John was here at some point. I want to go up to the organ loft but it doesn't look like its a public access place so I keep my feet on the ground.
 
I'm half looking for a ship, I would like to find a ship, even a little one would be good. I know from listening to the professional archaeologists and graffiti hunters that ships can be found sailing quite happily around inland churches, not just on the coast; but I've been walking the Suffolk coastal path earlier in the day and I've seen quite a few real boats before getting to Bawdsey, so ships are in my head.

Sometimes I see these sort of banana shapes over grids (there is another one is Girton's porch) but I can't really persuade myself that it is a boat.
 
There is the double V or W / inverted M mark which I have been describing as a "Marian mark" for the purpose of the Suffolk graffiti survey. I need to ask someone in the know what it actually means though. I could make a stabbing guess, but a little knowledge is a bad thing.

The photography is hard work too. It light, bright and a beast to get a good image.

Then I see the textile....which triggers a conflict in my operating system....what do I look at? Stitch or stone? Stitch or stone? It takes me a second to register...

Oh ye Gods and little fishes - look at the stitching. I mean seriously, because according to the V&A it's 13th century and Flemish. Those faces, the stitching is vertical, which doesn't happen in English embroidery of this period, that would be executed in whorls.


 Ok - so the Victorians re-mounted, embroidered around the panels and added a little to the outline, but essentially these figures are over 600 years old.
I am struggling with this a bit. I've been gifted lots of pieces of old textiles in the past. All of which I have cherished, much of which has fallen to pieces, rotted away. How does something like this survive? 
 

The suggestion Is that the embroidery was initially part of a cope, which had seen better days.

I find myself reaching for my sketchbook because it is hard to really look at stitching unless you try and draw it ...before realise that I haven't got my sketchbook with me.
No sketchbook!?! When did I stop carrying that? There is something wrong here. I've dropped a good habit.



Then I realise that I haven't drawn, or painted, or indeed stitched anything for ages, not properly anyway. No gloves, no costuming, no painting....no good!

I feel guilty, and promise myself that I will sort out my work room and find a place for both graffiti and stitch.

I wonder when I'm going to sleep....