Historic Graffiti, what’s that?
This particular graffiti is not destructive vandalism, but instead takes the form of scratches and other marks, that were made intentionally pre-1700, typically they may be:
Protective (or apotropaic) marks, made with the intention of warding off supernatural phenomena, sometimes these are called witches’ marks;
Marks made by craftsmen during the construction of buildings, for example mason’s marks;
Doodles or sketches made for other reasons.
Historic Graffiti and Superstitious Beliefs
The Graffiti Survey Group
The Graffiti Survey Group was formed in September 2018, with the aim of identifying, recording and archiving the graffiti that abounds at Hoghton Tower. We are working very closely with the North West Historic Graffiti Survey C.I.C and have established excellent links with local universities.
Our small group of enthusiastic volunteers, Sue Llevo, Lynne Neatis, Chris Pomfret and Stephen Spencer, has carried out two surveys.
The first survey, concentrated on the sandstone archway, situated between the North and Chapel Entrances. Examples of both apotropaic and mason’s marks were found.
The second survey involved the Well House. Twenty-seven items of graffiti were discovered, including taper burns and compass drawn apotropaic symbols.
There are many months, perhaps even years, of surveying ahead of us. Our next project is the Banqueting Hall, why not become a volunteer at Hoghton Tower and join us?