St Winifred’s was built in the 15th century, with the nave and chancel being built first and the tower and aisles added later. Two of the bells date to the 1440s. An outstanding feature of the church is the late 15th century carved and painted screen. The chancel was rebuilt following its destruction by lightning in 1779. There were major restorations of the building in 1865 and further works in the 1920s.

The church is mainly granite, including the piers, so it is perhaps not surprising that the only graffiti found is on the timber screens. This includes two identical motifs which could be read as I X Christograms (the Greek letters for Jesus Christ), although we can’t be sure that the maker would have known this symbolism. The motifs are, however, carefully executed and clearly had some significance and purpose. It is interesting that they both have the central vertical stroke offset to the right.

The remaining graffiti comprises marks commonly associated with an apotropaic (protective) function, namely irregular grids and scored lines, lone letter W’s and V’s and a ladder (or tally marks).

Manaton, St Winifred