Of  all the churches that I have visited, I have never seen a font covered in graffiti, as this one is in Llanychaearn Church in Wales.  I find it amazing, I just wonder how it came about, possibly it was outside in the churchyard for a while, its almost like a big doodle.  The best part is the date of 1630, but in the little guide book it says its inscribed with the year ‘1660’.  It is covered in little drawings and marks that most likely meant something at the time.  The font comes from an older church, as the church was totally rebuilt with much of the old stone in 1880.  An interesting fact is the font was designed for the total immersion of infants.




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From our visit September 2014

8 Replies to “The Font of Graffiti”

  1. This is fascinating! I’m intrigued that most of the letters are ‘E’s. That could be because the culprit was mostly a child whose name began with E! And SO old… would there have been a Sunday school in the 1600s, I wonder? No, it would have been a small school, possibly run by the vicar himself. So maybe the kids carved their initials while they waited for him. I like the way you can see how they did it, by making little ‘points’ and running lines between them. What an amazing find!

    1. I very nearly walked a way from it with out seeing the marks, the church was quite dark and it just looked like some patterns on the stone. But I thought I really ought to take a photo and of course when I looked, it all jump out at me, I was so surprised. Yes there are lots of E’s, just wish I knew more about it. So now I have to inspect all the fonts close up……wonder if I have missed some 🙂

      1. There is a lot of research on Medieval graffiti in churches at the moment, but I think this is just a bit older, but I will have to see if I can find out anything…..as I now keep finding it 🙂

  2. This is an extraordinary object which surely deserves an academic papet or monograph. All the speculations — yours and in the comments — seem eminently plausible, so it would be good to know how this came to be defaced. The Es are intriguing, but there are other ‘practice’ letters such as the occasional R amongst the ?16/17C initials and mason-like marks.

    1. Thats the word I was trying to come up with, masons marks, thank you……I would love to know more, maybe something to keep me busy with over the winter. You think of it as a modern day phenomenon, but I have discovered in all sorts of medieval buildings, makes you wonder have it first started 🙂

      1. It was a way of checking who was responsible for the shaping of each stone. Each mark had to be simple and distinctive and to be easily made with the tools at hand — straight lines were an essential component. They probably had a symbolic content too.

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