Graffiti aint as polite as it used to be

Aside from drinking in the Tudory (a word?) atmosphere at Kenilworth a few other things sprung out at me during my visit. Chief among them was how the reddish sandstone that was used to build the castle had made graffiti particularly easy and consequently encouraged visitors down the ages to contribute. ‘Old graffiti spotting’ is often the best way to liven up a long visit to an historical site. I noticed a couple of examples that demonstrate that even when it came to vandalism people in the nineteenth century were just so much more formal than us:

Banksy could learn some manners

Banksy could learn some manners

T. Simmons & S. Simmons, 1864

C. Muckle, Birmingham

Properly capitalised initials and everything. You could learn a few things them Stacey and the other denizens of my local bus shelter, though apparently you are already adept at some activities…

I was also particularly taken with this example from 1880, simply because I don’t expect anyone has had such a stout British name since then:

A stout hearted fellow, Bob.

A stout hearted fellow, Bob.

Like the good Twitterstorian that I am, I did a quick bit of internet research on graffiti of yore and discovered Bob Grindle and his decorous Nineteenth Century chums may have been something of an aberration. Here are some from ancient Rome:

Suspirium puellarum Celadus thraex.

Celadus the Thracier makes the girls moan!

(C.I.L. IV, 4397; in the barracks of the gladiators

Virgula Tertio suo: indecens es.

Virgula to her Tertius: you are one horny lad!

Cacator cave malum, aut si contempseris, habeas Iovem iratum.

Watch it, you that shits in this place! May you have Jove’s anger if you ignore this.

Courtesy of

Such graffiti appears throughout history, so maybe Stacey & co. are just carrying on a noble tradition? I’ll stick with Bob though.


One thought on “Graffiti aint as polite as it used to be

  1. JimmyBean

    I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean


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