Someone had the bright idea of pinning up some sheets of paper and supplying marker pens for passers-by to record their thoughts and questions. As this is in the midst of the university area of Cambridge you might expect more profound questions than "Where's the nearest pub?" though I'm afraid you'd be wrong. In fairness I got fed up of waiting for the young man in the picture to finish his lengthy discourse and wandered off to find more permanent words on walls.
A little way along the street from the first picture stands St Botolph's Church. It's an interesting building and someday I'll invest some time to photographing it properly, but for now I'll just show you the little plaque above. This is one of the ways that social care was funded in days gone by. I'm surprised to see such a large sum being bequeathed by a bricklayer as it would be like saving £97,000 today (though such calculations are fraught with difficulty). It's also unusual to see such a donation commemorated in this way.
"Near this place lies the body of Francis Squire who departed this life ye 29th of december 1732 in ye 65 year of his age" What caught my attention here was the rather gruesome skull which, although not to modern taste, was quite a common symbol on old gravestones.
I often find myself reading the names on war memorials and wondering at the senseless loss of life recorded on them, but this is the first one that's ever made me smile - whatever possessed anyone to name their son W.O.R.KING ?????
Graffiti in churches is a lot more abundant than you might think; sometimes the builders left their mark but mostly it was just local people making a bid to be remembered for eternity. Or at least for 216 years and counting.
Another odd scratching inside a church. It seems to be a representation of a warrior or knight of some kind, possibly St George. Nobody seems to know much about this one except that it's very old.
And finally I can never resist a bit of grandiloquent Victorian prose:
COUNTY OF HERTFORD
TAKE NOTICE THAT THIS BRIDGE IS
INSUFFICIENT TO CARRY WEIGHTS BEYOND THE
ORDINARY TRAFFIC OF THE DISTRICT,AND THAT OWNERS
AND ALL OTHER PERSONS IN CHARGE OF LOCOMOTIVES,AND
ALL OTHER PONDEROUS CARRIAGES, ARE WARNED
AGAINST ATTEMPTING THE PASSAGE OF THE BRIDGE.
BY ORDER OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL
CLERK OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL.
23RD OCTOBER, 1899.
Regular readers might remember from the post about steam traction engines that the largest examples of such vehicles were known as "road locomotives" and these huge machines (along with other ponderous carriages) were what posed a danger to the structure of the bridge. It must have been a real problem at the time as roads were simply not designed for such large weights. Whatever one thinks of the ponderous prose it seems to have done the trick - the bridge is still standing.