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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Cold Overton, Leicestershire (†Leicester) c.1230

St Catherine

St Catherine, Cold Overton

The church of St John the Baptist, Cold Overton has a number of paintings, but all are in a more or less damaged state, and only this St Catherine and a painting of John the Baptist are identifiably clear. Catherine, on the east wall of the south aisle of the church, is readily identifiable by her wheel, which she holds in her extended left hand. She also holds a book, and is crowned as a princess.

The upper part of a large processional cross at the right of the photograph may or may not be part of this subject, but the remains of a horizontal band of zig-zag border shows at the top. There is a piscina and a shelf under the east window of the south aisle, which suggests that an altar, probably dedicated to St Catherine, once stood here. As with all the paintings at Cold Overton, colour and other details have gone completely, and the church walls seem to have been whitewashed over at least once. Apart from that, though, little or no remodelling so beloved of Victorian ‘restorers’, of the church has taken place.

I will try to include the painting of John the Baptist from the south wall at Cold Overton at a future update, and also an interesting subject which seems to be the Gathering of the Apostles for the funeral of the Virgin. If that is indeed what it is, it is a very rare early example of the subject indeed.