Trust Calls for Help to Solve Mystery of 19th Century Graffiti Uncovered in Farmhouse; SCRAWLS MAY HOLD KEY TO LOCAL SOCIAL HISTORY

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Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR

MYSTERY graffiti left by 19th century workers at a farm in Pembrokeshire, is the subject of a history investigation at the National Trust-owned property.

The scrawls, which may have served as simple reminders to the staff working at the farmhouse, might now hold a key to unravelling the social history of the farm at that time.

It is hoped the words - some scorched into wood by candle flames - will shed light on the lives of past occupants or employees of Southwood Farm. They were only discovered by the National Trust when the last tenants, Mary and Mervyn Rees, moved out.

National Trust rural surveyor Alex Rees-Wigmore said they wanted to uncover what role those responsible may have had at the farm.

"It was amazing to suddenly be looking at all this writing from the 1800s - some in pencil, some scorched onto the walls by candle flame - and wonder how and why it was done and who the people were.

"We'd love to know who the four people were whose names are listed as 'fattening 26 geese in Dec 1878'.

"Were they servants or estate workers, whose beds were in the attic, passing away idle moments and leaving their mark for posterity? "If anyone can help us shed light on this mystery, we'd love to hear from them.

"Because Southwood Farmhouse is not normally open to the public, our open day is a unique chance for people to come along and see this unusual phenomenon for themselves."

It is hoped visitors will get involved in researching the names when the farm hosts an open day on Wednesday.

"It is so interesting that these clues have been left behind and at a time when people are so keen on finding out about their family's histories and social history we are hoping that people will step forward to shed some more light on this," said visitor services manager Sue Hicks. …