“At what point does vandalism become history?”

“At what point does vandalism become history?”

Asked the voice from over my shoulder. It was one of the cathedral guides, he’d wandered over while I was focusing on a particularly choice example of 17th century graffiti in the nave of Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral Grafitti

Anthony Brown, 1624

He humoured me for a while and pointed out some of the particularly ancient examples of vandalism history. The light was okay but fading, and we had to be at Heathrow within a few hours for the flight home so we couldn’t take too long.

Winchester Cathedral

Giles Maten, 1601

Winchester Cathedral Grafitti

LR, RC, GG and IH were here in 1621

We talked for a little while and came to sort of an agreement that the latest period he would accept for the transition was World War II. I would have been happy to come another 10 years forward, but I’m younger than he was by about that much and coming from the Antipodes, I don’t have the European concept of time when it applies to history.

Winchester Cathedral Grafitti

Then again, he thought driving from Winchester to Heathrow was a long way. We’d already driven 54 miles from Corfe Castle, Winchester was only half way for the day, we’d kept up that rate of travel for just over four weeks.

Winchester Cathedral Grafitti

Apparently, I was here on July 27th, 1857. We get around, my brother
left his signature on Ely Cathedral in the second half of the seventeenth century.

As a parting gesture, he pointed out what he said was the earliest depiction of a chess board in England, said not to miss the paintwork in the crypt and bade us as pleasant a journey as possible in cattle class.

Winchester Cathedral


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