More photographs than usual for this post. It’s one of my favourite churches – St. Mary’s at Ashwell, a beautiful village where two rivers rise. The graffiti in the church is touching, sobering, an emotive bridge to distant forbears. In this year 2020, it is particularly redolent, an obvious link between past and present and a reminder that we haven’t – so far – had it so bad.
It translates: There was a plague in 1350. Pitiable, fierce, violent, it departed. A wretched populace survives to witness and, in the end, a mighty wind – Maurus – thunders in the world in this year 1361.
During the Black Death, some 30-40 percent of England’s population died. A great storm did indeed devastate eastern England on St. Maurus’ day.
Near to these lines of dog Latin is a hatchwork engraving, at first indecipherable but, once you know, clearly a representation of the old St. Paul’s cathedral, burnt down in the Great Fire of London.
There is more graffiti on the pillars. And the whole church is worthy of inspection.