John E. Vigar MA, FSA Scot., FRSA

Murder, Sex and Mayhem in English Churches

Like most people I enjoy the peace and serenity offered by our parish churches, but having visited and recorded over 12,000 of them I have found they also contain countless images of Murder, Sex and Mayhem.

Medieval murals and stained glass depict the martyrdom of saints from home and abroad, and the grisliest of dooms. At a lower level may be found misericords showing whippings, wife beatings, and brawls.

Finally there are many monuments and memorials that show scenes of murder and mayhem in goodly measure including stagecoach crashes, bridge collapses, falling trees, falling bridges, falling chimneys, shootings, stabbings, mine collapses, shipwrecks and explosions. This digital lecture will show a selection of images of murder and mayhem from across the country and explain both the stories behind them and their relevance to particular periods of history.

Suggested reading:

Who’s buried where in England by Douglas Greenwood (1999)
Church Monuments by Brian Kemp (2008)
Monuments in English Churches by Katherine Esdaile (1937)
Discovering Churchyards by Mark Child (1982)

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Latest Blogs from John

 For the forseeable future all my work will be online. This means that I will be opening my work up to a whole new audience who will be able to attend my lectures from the comfort of their own homes - but existing clients are more than welcome, ...
For the next 4 Monday evenings at 8pm I am giving online lectures. The titles are as follows: Monday 6th JulyBedrooms, Banquets and Balls - an off-beat look at the English Country House Monday 13th JulyBritain with Betjeman - the architectu...
I'm presenting my popular lecture "Murder Sex and Mayhem in English Churches" via Zoom on the evening of June 29th.All you need is a computer or tablet and internet access. Full booking details hereMurder Sex and Mayhem - BOOKING...
Sadly, I have decided to give up arranging my public church day tours. I have been running these for over 30 years. They have been thoroughly enjoyable and I have met many interesting people along the way. These tours take a huge amount of organ...

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