Engraving in the church tower
This stone is inside the clock room of the Bell Tower at St Lawrence Church.
The first line of the inscription has been erased.
This inscription bore the names of the two Church Wardens in 1711, John Carter and John Borrough. The name of John Carter has been erased. He was possibly John Carter II. The superscript II is a Roman 2 and different from the 11 of 1711.
It would seem as if to emphasize the erasure, the s of C. Wardens has been removed too.
The W of wardens is made by overlapping Vs contrasting with the W in RW beneath. This resembles the Marian mark of VV (Virgo Virginum) symbol of the Marian Cult but this wouldn’t have been in favour in Queen Anne’s Protestant reign. People's wardens were elected by the congregation, the vicar’s warden was appointed by the incumbent priest. (a 1603 law, repealed 2001). John Carter had been both over the years and was the vicar’s choice in 1711.
The inscription is skillfully done by a mason who probably in 1711 was working on the tower. The date 1711 appears on the outside of the tower 'THO. PITT ESQ BENEFACTOR ANNO 1711’.
Sadly the reason for this clumsy eradication is unknown.
Perhaps John Carter and John Borroughs agreed each to pay half the mason’s fee and he then reneged.
Perhaps he became a non-Conformist or Dissenter. As such he would no longer have worshipped at St Lawrence and so had to be removed as warden, though he had no other place of worship available in the village (none was registered under the Toleration Act 1689 in 1711).
But a greater transgression would have been having Jacobite sympathies. He was warden in 1712 too, Queen Anne’s Coat of arms was given by Thomas Pitt to the Church in 1713, the Queen died in 1714. Many were unhappy with a German King from Hanover taking over and in 1715 came a Jacobite rebellion.
Worse still would be converting to Catholicism AND supporting the return of England’s last Catholic monarch, James II. That might well prompt chipping his name from history.
There is no evidence however to support any of these theories.