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Very Early Wall Painting in the English Church : before 1200

1200 is a fairly arbitrary terminal date here - many paintings now on the site can be regarded as early, and there are several dating from the 13th century, but I have made this separate category for the very earliest, some of which (like Houghton-on-the-Hill, Claverley and Copford) are unusual in their subject matter or treatment of it and some of which (like the relief carving at Breamore) are sculpture rather than painting but were almost certainly painted once. Breamore, moreover, has a painted background and is in any case too important to ignore despite the problems of dating it presents. But relatively few examples of painting in the parish church survive from this early period, and I will include the others known to me as soon as possible. Some are surprisingly well preserved precisely because they have spent centuries undisturbed below many layers of plaster. The painting of the Purgatorial Ladder at Chaldon in Surrey is very remarkable indeed. Its unique status prevents it from fitting in any box, which is why the link below is outside it.

Purgatorial Ladder, with the Seven Deadly Sins, Chaldon, Surrey
Passion Cycle, Ickleton, Cambs Painted Anglo-Saxon Inscription, Breamore, Hampshire Painted Rood (Crucifixion), Breamore Hampshire Suicide of Judas (later), Breamore, Hampshire Judgement with Apostles, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk
Allegorical Joust, Claverley, Shropshire David overcoming the Lion/(repainted) Knight representing a Virtue, Copford, Essex Raising of Jairus’s daughter, Copford, Essex Martyrdom of S.Edmund & other subjects, Fritton, Norfolk Apostle or Prophet, Little Easton, Essex
Christ in Majesty, Kempley, Gloucestershire The Three Marys (Maries) at the sepulchre, Kempley, Gloucestershire The Fall & its Aftermath, Hardham, Sussex The Annunciation/Visitation/Nativity/Annunciation to Shepherds-Hardham NEW The Flight into Egypt/Fall of the Idols/Dispute with the Doctors/Baptism of Christ-Hardham NEW
Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire Apostles & angels supporting Christ in Majesty, West Chiltington, Sussex
St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset Christ in Majesty, with Judgement details, Clayton, Sussex King Herod & an attendant, and the Flight into Egypt, Coombes, Sussex
Christ in Majesty, with Traditio Legis & and illusionistic painted figure, Coombes, Sussex Two scenes from the Life of St. Cuthbert-Pittington, Durham

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Anne Marshall 2000-2012