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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  I am pleased to announce that I will be giving these online lectures in October   Tuesday 6th October  Churches of the Romney Marshes Tuesday 20th October   For Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals   In November I am giving...
  I am delighted to announce that I will be teaching a short course this autumn at KNUSTON HALL, Northamptonshire on an "Introduction to English Cathedrals". For those of you who do not know Knuston Hall, it is a residential adult college, and I...
I am pleased to annouce my programme of ZOOM lectures for the rest of the year. They cost £5 each. Please do tell your friends!   Wednesday August 19th at 7.30pm   Little Known treasures in Norfolk churches Monday September 14th at 8.0...
  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,...

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