With my father and his partner we went to visit Conisbrough Castle. As is often the case I find Castle visits very anodyne and as on other occasions I was more interested in graffiti. There were the word:
BARKING S.A. SCOUTS
Carved into the stone on the ground floor of the sheet. My father comes from Stratford and for me this piece of graffiti was the most moving element of the trip. After visiting the castle we went to see the church of St Peters. Inside at one point my father pointed out that the heads of the figures on the capitals of the Norman pillars had been knocked off. This must have been done by the puritans. It made me reflect that whilst it is possible to remove the graffiti from city walls and from inside churches it is not really possible to remove the damage done to icons by the puritans. You can get rid of modern graffiti but she cannot get rid of the puritan challenge to authority whether you like it or not. It is a bit like whitewashing the desire to forget the difficult elements of history and to render them clean. To describe historical monuments, as to English Heritage, as if the past were nothing other than a comfortable children’s story. The Puritans left their mark in a way that cannot allow the violence of their challenge to be overcome.