[Bell Historians] 17th century numbers in bell tower
charollais at gmail.com
Thu Jan 27 14:39:03 GMT 2022
With regard to the putative ‘F’ (and, indeed, the whole question), it might be worth posting the pictures to the English Mediaeval Graffiti Facebook group and get their views on it.
> On 27 Jan 2022, at 14:10, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com> wrote:
> Tony via Bell-historians wrote:
>> I had overlooked the significance of the middle initial.
>> I've attached a composite image of the name and numbers.
> I'm not so certain that the 'F' in the name is a middle initial, or even an 'F' at all. If this were a signature at the end of a written document from 1641, my supposition would be that William Battell was unable to write, either due to illiteracy or infirmity, and the supposed 'F' is actually 'his mark'. It was very common to write the person's name around their mark in this manner. I've never encountered this in graffiti, though I've not made any great study of them; nevertheless, I find it a more plausible hypothesis than that William Battell had a middle name, anachronistically. Another possibility is that it is simply an embelishment, or perhaps an aborted attempt at a capital 'B' – though in the latter case, we'd have to explain why it was aborted when it looks perfectly correct.
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