June & July – Graffiti in Norwich Cathedral – Matt Champion & Jess Macdonald

Following Owen Thompson’s talk earlier this month on the history of Norwich Cathedral we’re back there for a two part exploration of the thousands of individual pieces of graffiti within.

On June 17th Matt Champion and Jess Macdonald will be coming to Needham Village Hall to tell us about the graffiti discovered by the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey between 2012 and 2015.

As Matt says “Between 2012 and 2015 Norwich cathedral was surveyed for historical graffiti inscriptions as part of the award winning Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey. The building was discovered to contain over five thousand individual graffiti inscriptions, dating from as far back as the twelfth century – all the way through to the 21st century. They were created for various reasons, but very often are simply prayers made solid in stone. The graffiti on the walls of the cathedral are highly diverse. Medieval ships sail across the stonework, jostling aside images of wading birds and elaborate compass drawn designs. In the cloister the walls bear witness to where medieval monks practiced their manuscript skills on the walls, whilst the working drawings of medieval masons can be seen still etched into the building. The cathedral is also home to some of the rarest historical graffiti in England, including medieval musical notation, and a ‘curse’ aimed at a local Norwich family. The graffiti inscriptions of Norwich cathedral tell an entirely new story, and add a completely new level of understanding to the building’s already rich and vibrant past.”

Jess was involved in the survey of Norwich Cathedral from the outset and on July 22nd she will lead a tour around the cathedral to explore the graffiti in situ. We’ll obviously have to limit numbers for this and will put an Eventbrite page up for it after June 17th. The tour will last between an hour and an hour and a half and will be free to attend; please consider leaving a donation for the cathedral.

The June meeting will be at 2.00pm at Needham Village Hall, High Road, Needham, IP20 9LB. Admission £3.00, all welcome.

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