Two sets of initials, enclosed in an house style memorial. In fact there are three sets of initials, there is another "TC 1770" hiding in the background, but that one is free ranging and doesn't have it's own little flag flying place of abode.
For a bit of a challenge, I thought why not see if I can fit initials to people? I have the luxury of time at the moment after all. Wouldn't it be nice to find a potential TG / TC and maybe work out why s/he spent a not insignificant amount of time scratching this particular design on the church. To this end I'm going to work from the assumption that these are death dates (well you have to start from somewhere don't you?)
Although I'm describing this graffiti form as "house" It occurs to me that the initial's dwelling places could just as easily be tented pavilions with their little flags flying; and I do love those flags, despite them being still, they give an atmosphere of jollity to graffiti. I take a quick on line search through a selection of 17th c gravestones to see if there are any similar depictions - but there aren't. The existing 17th c graves are dominated design wise by the ubiquitous skull , sometimes with accompanying bones, but no little houses - which is a pity.
Back to the task at hand. Can I put a name to "TG 1597" and "TC 1698".
That should be fairly easy shouldn't it? Yet I have a niggle - possibly because there is a gap of nigh on 100 years between the two sets of initials? If the house cartouche is a regular graffiti memorial (and this is suggested by the almost identical design form) then wouldn't there be a few more cropping up on the churches? Quite a few more? Wouldn't there be little clusters of houses like family vault villages? Or perhaps I'm worrying unnecessarily?
In some respects this is an easy, if totally speculative investigation . All I need to do is rock up at a county record office with a CARN ticket and start reading (in this instance) Troston parish records. Oh how I would love to do this, but I can't drive for another few weeks so I can forget that obvious line of enquiry.
Most of the parish records on line require a subscription and a name that is more than just two letters. Therefore it would be better if I could generate a names list. I don't have to find exact individuals to start off with, but probable individuals would give me something to put into those on line genealogical search engines.
My notebook contains the following tasks...
1) Find a cohort of known family names from Troston in this 100 year period.
2) Determine alternative spellings for Troston and parish details
3) Research the popular Christian names in 17th century England starting with T G and C
4) Find out what educational establishments were nearby and see if their records are available on line.
5) Locate Hearth tax returns? This result should provide evidence of ways in which the local population were recording names as well as the names themselves (is are names recorded Christian name first or the other way around?
6) Window tax returns?
7) Determine which families were be geographically mobile (such as merchants). This might give provide acquaintances' and those people passing through.
Which is all well and good .... I predict I will either turn up everything, or nothing, and being new to this kind of researching I hope it isn't too much of a humbling experience.