January 25, 2016

The Writing On the Walls

Allison Meier (Hyperallergic) discusses Matt Champion's new book Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches (Ebury Press), and his discoveries of pre-Reformation marks and messages from the non-aristocracy on medieval church walls. These messages, says Dr. Champion, head of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey, tell us a lot, both about medieval belief and about social interaction. He also notes that these carvings, previously assumed to be the work of non-mainstream worshippers like Wiccans, for example, are actually more likely to be examples of medieval understandings of the world around them. "'[T]he fact that such finds often lead to them being ascribed to modern Wiccans, devil worshippers or hoaxers is a sign of just how mentally remote we are today from the commonplace beliefs of the medieval church.'"

Cross-posted to Law and Magic Blog.

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