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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire (†Oxford) C.14

St Francis Preaching to the Birds

Little Kimble, St Francis preaching to the birds

This is only the third representation of St Francis of Assisi I have seen in the English parish church, and only the second to show him preaching to the birds – the other, probably a little earlier, is at Wissington in Suffolk. Unfortunately, not much is left of the saint himself on the right, and his head has gone completely, perhaps as a result of deliberate iconoclastic vandalism, of which there seems to have been a good deal in 17th century Buckinghamshire.

The rather out-of scale birds are clustered in a stylised tree at the left of the painting, which is on a window splay on the south nave wall. The bird on the lowest branch is an owl. Tristram could see Francis’s knotted girdle, but I cannot make this or any other detail of his clothing out now.

Little Kimble church was once very fully painted, including the chancel, and another of the remaining paintings, showing a man holding a mysterious painted Triptych is newly here. The painting of St George and the princess has been on this site for some time. Others will be here soon. And there are other medieval remains of interest, including some fine decorated floor tiles.

Website for All Saints, Little Kimble