The writing on the wall: the concealed communities of the East Yorkshire horselads

Kate Giles, Melanie Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the graffiti found within late nineteenth and early-twentieth century farm buildings in the Wolds of East Yorkshire. It suggests that the graffiti were created by a group of young men at the bottom of the social hierarchy - the horselads – and was one of the ways in which they constructed a distinctive sense of communal identity, at a particular stage in their lives. Whilst it tells us much about changing agricultural regimes and social structures, it also informs us about experiences and attitudes often hidden from official histories and biographies. In this way, the graffiti are argued to inform our understanding, not only of a concealed community, but also about their hidden history
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Historical Archaeology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Bibliographical note

© Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007. This is an author-generated copy of the published article. The original publication is available at Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.


  • Graffiti
  • Identity
  • Farm buildings
  • Horselads

Cite this