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The Three Living & Three Dead : Alton, Staffordshire (‡Lichfield) C.15?

Photo:T.Marshall Three Living & three Dead, Alton [48KB]
Apart from a few indecipherable fragments, including some that may have been more trees like the one on the right, this is all that is left of the subject at Alton. A now headless young man stands frontally, right hand to his chest and index finger extended either in consternation or to draw attention to a speech-scroll (some of the other fragments suggest that there were once speech-scrolls here). He has an elegant short tunic with buttons down the centre and a scalloped lower edge, and I think he once had a long cloak worn open over this, as do the comparable figures at Heydon in Norfolk. He also has highly fashionable shoes with very long points and a short sword or long dagger hanging between his legs. When the painting was uncovered some time in the early 1930s he was apparently holding a crossbow in his left hand, but this, together with the crossbowman’s head, came away with the crumbling plaster during the uncovering¹.
The subject in its entirety once extended along a considerable part of the north wall, and superimposed on it were many painted texts from a later period. This particular part of the painting seems to have escaped being overpainted in this way.

¹The details of the uncovering are given in an extract in the church leaflet from Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club, Vol.LXIX, 1934-35, pp.80-81

Website for St Peter’s, Alton

(‡ in page heading = Diocese)
Alton, Staffordshire Belchamp Walter, Essex Belton, Suffolk Charlwood, Surrey Flamstead, Herts Haddiscoe, Norfolk
Heydon, Norfolk Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire NEW Lutterworth, Leicestershire Paston, Norfolk Peakirk, Northants Pickworth, Lincs Raunds, Northants
Seething, Norfolk Slapton, Northants Swalcliffe, Oxfordshire Tarrant Crawford, Dorset Wensley, N. Yorks Wickhampton, Norfolk

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2001 Anne Marshall

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