Medieval Graffiti - reading the writing on the wall? | University of Oxford

Medieval Graffiti - reading the writing on the wall?

Speaker
Matthew Champion
Event date
Event time
13:00 - 13:45
Venue
The Bodleian Libraries, Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3BG
Venue details

The Weston library lecture theatre, main entrance on Broad Street

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Free
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
Recommended

Today most forms of graffiti are regarded as destructive, as anti-social, and certainly not something that we should encourage or welcome on our historic buildings. However, that attitude is largely a modern construct, dating back only to the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Prior to then all forms of graffiti were, like the outrageous marginalia of a medieval manuscript, at least accepted. As a result our medieval churches, cathedrals and castles are covered in hundreds of thousands of largely unrecorded inscriptions. Inscriptions that deal with matters of faith, of commerce, and of life and death. Waiting only for someone to read them...