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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Wall Painting in the Early English Church – Pre-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.