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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Kirtlington, Oxfordshire (†Oxford) C.15

St George and the Dragon

St George and the Dragon, Kirtlington (102KB)

There are two fifteenth century paintings on the north wall at Kirtlington, this St George and St Christopher further right on the same wall. The two are often found together, and as the church was extensively altered in the fifteenth century, both paintings probably date from shortly after 1420, which is when the last of these 15th century alterations was carried out. And dim and dingy though it is now, this has the general look of a post-Agincourt painting, with George triumphantly brandishing his sword over his head while the dragon lies vanquished, all four legs in the air, at his feet, George’s armour, with a white cross on his surcoat, and his prominent spurs, all suggest an early date as well. His horse, faint as it is, shows the heavy-set muscularity typical of late medieval warhorses.

The princess who was about to become the dragon’s first human victim was once visible further to the right, huddled in a cloak, but I cannot make out more than a faint and partial outline that may be her figure now. Visible paintings of St George are not common in Oxfordshire, and this is only the third I have seen in the county (the example at Hornton is already on the site and in the table below; that at Broughton is in barely identifiable fragments). I will try to include the Kirtlington St Christopher on the site in the future, although it too is in a very dilapidated state. But this church once had a good deal of painting, including even some abstract patterning on the pillars.

Website for Kirtlington church