Priory Tiles

   Home      The Tring Tiles

The Tring Tile are the finest example of sgraffitto tiles from the medieval era they were made around 1330.

The method involves first coating the entire tile with white clay and allowing it to harden to the point where a design can be scratched in it revealling the dark body of the clay beneath.

The Tring Tiles originally located in St. Peter & St. Paul's Church at Tring. They were originally designed to form a freize rail but were removed during Victorian renovations to the church around 1880. The tiles were spirited away and offered for sale in a curiosity shop where they were bought by a Reverend Owen from a nearby parish, for just a few shillings. They were then sold when the contents of Bramwell Rectory were disperesed following his sons death in 1922.  A Chelmsford antiques dealer bought them for £17.00 and put them up for auction at Sotherbys. They were acquired by The British Museum for £1420.00 where they are still on display.

Nobody knows exactly how many tiles there were but there are 8 on display at The British Museum and 2 in the Victoria & Albert Museum, large pieces of tiles were subsequently found following demolition in garden walls and paths of local large houses. Most tiles have two scenes on them but one is a full size image showing Jesus blessing a feast. The tiles average 162mm x 324mm and our tiles are a similar size.

The tiles tell the story of the childhood of Jesus and it is believed that the designs are derived from the Apocryphal Gospels a French manuscript in the Bodleian Library in Oxford University.

Our interpretations of some of the tiles are shown below at the pre firing stage, we have reproduced with the craftsmans original errors but repaired some areas with an interpretation of how they may have looked to give you an idea of how fantastic they must have seemed.
Original tile   Our version of the tile   
Note the artists error of removing the slip above the arm of the man in the foreground repeated on our tile.   
Jesus points at playful lion cubs with Mary & Joseph behind him. A workmen is chastised by his master for cutting a plough beam too short, Jesus looks on. 
This tile depicts Jesus blessing the company at a family feast. Possibly recording the first recorded attibuted to Christ where he turned water to wine.
On this tile we have included our interpretation of the hand of Jesus and his friend as well as the child's father's face and the end of the key.
A man locks his child in a tower for misbehaving and Jesus pulls him out through the keyhole so he can play with him.
The tiles on display in The British Museum.