The SAS Graffiti Team

A group from SAS are investigating and recording historical graffiti in churches and other ancient buildings in Southampton and its surrounding area. Modern graffiti receives a bad press but in the medieval period it seems to have been an acceptable way for people to express their beliefs and hopes in a tangible and lasting form. Later, as literacy increased, it was also a way of recording one’s presence, with initials and dates.

The Southampton group was formed in 2017 and has already surveyed a number of churches including St Julien’s Chapel, South Stoneham, Peartree and Eling.  Findings have included a number of elaborate crosses, and ritual protection marks such as concentric circles and “daisy wheels”. More recent graffiti made by parishioners inscribing their names has also been recorded, providing a valuable source of information for local history and family researchers.  Gods House Tower, prior to its refurbishment, and the attics at Tudor House, have also been surveyed.

Survey findings are published in the Society’s Newsletter, and summaries are sent to the local Historic Environment Record held by the relevant council Planning Department.

The group’s work forms part of the Hampshire Medieval Graffiti Project, which in turn is part of a national volunteer-led and -run project to locate and record this fascinating body of material which until recently had been overlooked and undervalued.

More members are always welcome to join our survey team, and training will be given.

Karen Wardley

December 2018 Project Summary    (individual site reports below)

** Please note that some of these reports may not display properly on an iPad or other tablets. If you experience this, please try and open the report in a new “tab” or “window”.

Research Reports:

Bargate roof and upper floor, Southampton    

Bugle Street cellars, Southampton   

Castle Vault, Southampton

Catchcold Tower, Southampton

Conduit House

God’s House Tower

79½ High Street, Southampton

88 High Street, Southampton

93 & 94 High Street, Southampton

Holyrood Church, Southampton

Holy Trinity Church, Millbrook   

Lankester’s Vault, Southampton

Medieval Merchant’s House, Southampton

North Baddesley Church

North Stoneham Church

Peartree Church

Quilters Vault, Southampton

St. Andrew, Hamble      

              with The Clock and Bells of Hamble Church    

St. Andrew, Timsbury   NEW

St. Boniface Church, Nursling

St. Julien’s Chapel, Winkle Street, Southampton

St. Mary’s Breamore    

              with Breamore Stoneware report   

St. Mary’s Church, Eling

St. Mary’s Church, South Stoneham

St. Michael’s Prison Vault, Southampton

St. Michael’s Square, No. 11 Vault, Southampton

The Undercroft, Southampton

Weigh House Vault, Southampton

The Westgate, Southampton


Southampton Archaeology Society