Picture of St Mary the Virgin, Gamlingay


Graffiti - a mural scribling or drawing, as by schoolboys and idlers as at Pompeii, Rome and other ancient cities

There is much of interest in the vandalism of the past! Some of the GRAFFITI represents the problems of the times, other pieces were, perhaps, a comment on the feelings of the artist.

Many examples may be found in the church, most on the pillars in the north and south aisle.

"Mors comparatur umbre que semper sequitur corpus" Death is like a shadow which follows the body
This inscription, in letters nearly an inch high, can be found in a pillar in the south isle. It is reputed to have been inscribed by a curate at the time of the Great Plague in 1348, perhaps in a pause between burials. It is a reminder that we are all mortal.

On a more cheerful note there is an inscription on the most easterly pillar in the north aisle that reads:
"Hic est sedes margaratae Taylard"
This is the seat of Margarita Taylard"
This is a local interpretation of the inscription, and is said to have been written by the wife of Sir Walter Taylard. Why shouldn't she sit by the chapel the Taylards paid for?
If this translation is correct, the date of tis inscription is before 1475. The Chapel was completed in 1490 . It is nice to think of a Lady of the manor being such a vandal!
On another side of the same pillar is a nice crucifix, reputed to be also by Margaret Taylard.

There are some fine examples of heads carved into the stonework. There are two heads close together on a pillar in the south aisle, that can be dated from the headgear as not earlier than the end of the fourteenth century. This pillar is covered with farming examples; there are many ploughs and sheaves of corn shown on this pillar.

Also in the south aisle are two very fine examples of female heads, obviously drawn by someone with an artistic flair. One head appears to be wearing a mitre! Unlikely as we still do not yet have a woman bishop. These two examples date from between 1400 and 1410.

A row of houses have been carved on a pillar in the north aisle. These houses have crosses shown on them. It has been suggested that these crosses represent houses of the employees of the Knights Templars, this is unlikely as the date would be too early. It is more probable that they date from the plague and show the devastation caused in three adjacent dwellings.

On the north splay of the west window is:
" Jekyll clar.. of Gamlyngaye"
On the most easterly of the pillars in the south aisle are two more heads with a very roman appearance - definitely not roman!

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