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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Irstead, Norfolk (†Norwich) C.14, C.15

St Christopher

St Christopher, Irstead

Two examples here, one, now very faint, from the 14th century, and one from the 15th. This latter is fragmentary, but enough remains to confirm that it was one of the finest St Christophers in England – the quality of the work is extremely high. At the far left are the remains of the red ochre 14th century example, (probably also a skilled painting), but the much larger-scale 15th century fragment is at the right. Enough remains of St Christopher’s head to show the quality, perhaps, and certainly the detailed attention given to Christopher’s hair and features is very striking.

St Christopher, Irstead, detail, inscription

The Child, barely visible now, is on his right shoulder and there is a fragment of text (enlarged detail, right) I can make nothing of this; the script seems to be 15th century (I would very, very tentatively date it to around 1470) and the painting cannot, I think, be much earlier than this. One possibility is that it belongs to another, now vanished, subject, but I think this is unlikely. But the script letters do not seem to be part of St Christopher’s standard inscription [quoted in the Introduction].

† in page heading = Diocese