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Medieval church graffiti depicts Black Death fears

by Tola Mbakwe

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the 14th century art in Winchester shows figures intended to protect people from witches and the devil, scenes of people on horses accompanied by a figure on foot as well as names of bell ringers.

It's been reported the graffiti at St John's Church in Winchester has been newly revealed due to research by the Hampshire Churches Medieval Graffiti Survey.

The project has worked on dozens of churches and old buildings to unveil medieval graffiti.

Medieval graffiti specialist Matthew Champion told the newspaper people inscribed on churches because they knew that it would last.

Winchester was heavily plagued by the Black Death.

Champion said: "Sometimes the graffiti speaks of those who survived [the Black Death].

"People put on the walls what's important to them. There are times when they put inscriptions on the walls and those tend to be times of social stress.

"There's the idea that you might not be around. In the Black Death, people are wiped out. They wanted to leave a permanent mark. They knew that paper, life and normal society was insubstantial."

The curate at the church said the graffiti is an exciting development and is something new they can show to pilgrims who visit in the ancient church.

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