Aerial view of St. Michael's by Matt Sheldon


Historic Graffiti found in Mottram Parish Church!

Culprits long gone!

From 2017 to 2019, we were pleased to welcome the Tameside Archaeological Society to St. Michael's, to search for and record any graffititi that could be found. 

The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey had been nominated for the Archaeology Awards Research Project in 2017 after they had surveyed tens of thousands of graffiti elements in Norfolk churches, and the Tameside Archaeology Society (TAS) was requested to perform the same survey in our area under the umbrella of the North West Historic Graffiti Survey across Greater Manchester.

Graffiti in the context of our church building, means any marks or designs made on the building or its furniture and fittings, that is not part of their original design. In our case, there was not much medieval graffiti, but there was much from later periods, including the Victorian era and later. For instance:

  • Marks made by the original stonemasons to identify which work was theirs for payment purposes.
  • Compass drawn designs known as ‘daisy wheels’ and other designs made in the medieval period which were believed to be protection marks from evil spirits. The picture above is an example (but not medieval), from the back of one of the pews.
  • Also recorded were marks and drawings made both in the Victorian and modern era.
  • The gargoyles were also included in this survey because, as well as serving as waterspouts, they were also designed to ward off evil spirits and protect the church.

You can download a copy of their report by clicking on the picture to the left, which shows (we think) the initials and dates of the workmen who made the large wooden doors to the porch at the front of the church.

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