A common find in many churches are multiple scored dots or holes, sometimes arranged in a regular pattern.

In a number of cases (Norfolk examples) the dots appear to follow numerical values, being found in generally uneven numbers, and commonly in groups of three, five, seven and nine. Certain uneven numbers had considerable significance in the medieval church, such as the Trinity and the seven sacraments, and numbers were also regarded as powerful within aspects of medieval magic.

In some areas, particularly in France and Spain, it was until recently believed that the stone or plaster of the church, ground to a fine powder and mixed with wine, was an effective cure for many illnesses and diseases. It seems possible that some holes are the result of stone being removed for such purposes, perhaps especially when the holes are fairly large.

It has been noted in Devon that some holes are neat and sometimes conical, while others are deep and irregularly formed, as if the maker was strongly emphasising the purpose, or perhaps even that the prime intention was to remove fabric.

dots and holes