Graffiti project

Graffiti on a tattershall castle window

After thousands of photographs have been taken, forms have been filled in and hundreds of hours have been donated by hard working volunteers, the Graffiti Project is wielding exciting results.

Heading the Graffiti Project at Tattershall Castle is James Wright, a PhD student working on a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the University of Nottingham and National Trust, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Castle volunteers are helping to record all instances of graffiti found both in the Castle and the neighbouring Holy Trinity Church next door. After undertaking detailed training on the various forms of graffiti as well as professional archaeological recording techniques, volunteers have been organised into five groups and each group is assigned a specific area of the Castle and Church to study.

Volunteers recording ancient graffiti at Tattershall castle
Volunteers recording ancient graffiti at Tattershall castle
Volunteers recording ancient graffiti at Tattershall castle
" I felt that joining the graffiti project would add to my understanding of the castle – I find looking at the dates in particular fascinating, & love looking at the changes in style of graffiti over the years, from the beautiful early engraved names to the current scrawl. Some of the names seem to be very local to the area, too. There are challenges -cobwebs, visitors, contortions needed to get the light & scale in the right place for the photos... And the cold, at times, with the wind whistling through the keep. "
- Gill Shaw

Comparing all the collected data it is possible to map the presence of certain types of graffiti in different areas of the building and explain their position and meaning. We also have the opportunity to investigate further, looking into some of the names carved into the stone. We hope to discover interesting stories from the past, focusing on people who visited the Castle. Maybe they were fleeting, only having visited once or perhaps they were more local, living in the village of Tattershall itself.

" I'm interested in the way the graffiti documents an alternative social history for the castle. Most of it is, literally, set in stone as opposed to on the page."
- Rachel Burgess
A stonemason's working drawing at Tattershall Castle, probably inscribed as part of the design process for the Great Tower windows.
A stonemason's working drawing at Tattershall Castle, probably inscribed as part of the design process for the Great Tower windows.
A stonemason's working drawing at Tattershall Castle, probably inscribed as part of the design process for the Great Tower windows.
" The most exciting part of the task is looking for and finding something special. We've been lucky enough to find a couple of good bits of graffiti. Hopefully we will find more in the weeks to come."
- Bridget Kerbyson