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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Stoke Dry, Rutland (†Peterborough) C.14?

St Andrew Martyred

Martyrdom of St Andrew, Stoke Dry

One of only two paintings of St Andrew in the English church known to me (the other is at Ickleton in Essex, and is forthcoming). Here he is crucified on the saltire cross which became his emblem. The church at Stoke Dry is dedicated to St Andrew and this representation of him is in a place of honour, in the chancel on the left of the altar wall. On the opposite side at the right is a fragmentary painting apparently showing the Virgin enthroned.

Most of Andrew, including his face, is fairly clear; his feet and the ropes tying his legs to the cross show quite well. The most puzzling feature though is the small figure standing below the saint, between the two lower arms of the X-cross. This man seems to be tonsured and wears what looks like a white alb, the standard priest’s garment at the time. Stoke Dry was evidently a possession of the Knights Hospitaller¹ and the order had a subdivision of priests and chaplains as well as Knights (drawn from the nobility) and brother servants. Since the small figure is holding a jar of the kind used for medicine, he may well be a chaplain of the order. The Knights Hospitaller wore a black mantle, but that may not have been true of the other classes of the order.

Other paintings at Stoke Dry include the Martyrdom of St Edmund and the Martyrdom of St Margaret; a painting of St Christopher is newly on the site, and there is another obscure painting as well as the Virgin Enthroned mentioned above. There are also particularly interesting painted texts in the nave, and some very fine Saxon carving.

Website for St Andrew’s, Stoke Dry

¹ Thanks to Christopher Barrett for this information.