Nothing new

Nearly forgot this. That annoying twit Simon Hoggart had this to say last week:

One sign of the infantilisation of our national life is the growing tendency to anthropomorphise inanimate objects. Blackpool buses which are not picking up passengers say: “Sorry, I’m not in service”, as if they were Clara the talking bus from Thomas the Tank Engine…

As plenty of archaeologists and medievalists would be able to tell him, there is a very long and widespread tradition (from ancient civilizations through to the early modern period) of inscriptions on artefacts that will say, for example, “A made me”, or “B owns me”.

It’s common on medieval and early modern church bells. I particularly like a more unusual one from Helmdon Parish Church in Oxfordshire, dated 1679:

THAT ALL MAY CWM AND NON MAY STAY AT HOM I RING TO SERMON WITH A LUSTY BOM

Or you could have the 1834 inscription on one of its neighbours. Same general idea… somewhat different tone.

OBEY OUR CALL THE RIGHT THE GOOD OLD WAY, SHUN SCHISM’S WILES, NOR EVER FROM IT STRAY.

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One Response to Nothing new

  1. claire says:

    Ah, I’d registered that but never thought about it. I like the whole ‘I’m not in service thing.’ It’s sort of cute and cuddly.

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