Tower tours at Bath Abbey have always been very popular with the general public but research work that has just started within the structure – with its two spiral staircases and 212 steps – is designed to make them even more enjoyable still!
Members of the Wiltshire Field Archaeology Group have started a major survey of ancient graffiti.
The carvings of names and symbols scattered throughout the tower and dating way back to medieval times – as the Abbey’s Interpretation Officer Dr Oliver Taylor explains.
The group are starting at the top and working their way down. They are also taking note of more recent additions – carved in the lead on the church roof.
Climbing the 212 steps to chat to the survey leader Tony Hack meant experiencing the full force of a cold and very noisy early spring wind!
Like other members of his group he has been involved in research graffiti at several Wiltshire churches, but it was while on a Bath Abbey tower tour with his wife that he realised just how rich a resource of graffiti history the city’s parish church was.
With the Rector’s permission, this new survey has got underway.
I have a feeling the Virtual Museum will be returning to Bath Abbey tower many times – over the coming months – to report on new findings.
The Wiltshire Archaeology Group have a website – http://wiltshireafg.weebly.com – for anyone who would like to join members in their graffiti research across the county.
The survey group can be found via http://www.wiltshire-medieval-graffiti-survey.com
Unfortunately, the narrow confines of Bath Abbey tower don’t allow for any more people to join this particular project as volunteers – at this stage. Making contact with the group is your best bet.
More information about Bath Abbey tower tours via http://www.bathabbey.org/towertours