The key to making sense of the graffiti inscriptions we find on hundreds of church walls is interpretation. However, much as a medieval Latin document might make little sense to anyone but a specialist, the graffiti inscriptions are difficult to interpret without some knowledge of why they were created. Many are badly damaged, incomplete or eroded and the temptation is always to try and read too much into the fragments that remain. In addition, the study of medieval graffiti is relatively new, meaning that any current interpretation may well alter as time passes and new discoveries are made. We have listed below a series of short pieces that may aid interpretation of any graffiti that you come across. However, we can’t give you all the answers. The meaning and function of some inscriptions will probably always remain a puzzle to all but those people, long centuries ago, who originally made them.
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