Gruesome murders to mythical beasts: Britain’s historic church wallpaintings now can be seen online


From grisly medieval depictions of the brutal murder of Thomas Becket the intricate and jewel-like decoration of the whole of a Victorian church interior, historic churches contain a wealth of fascinating, surprising and irreplaceable wallpaintings which reflect almost 1,000 years of British history.

Earlier this month, the Churches Conservation Trust – the national charity protecting historic churches at risk – launched a brand new online resource providing an interactive guide to just some of the fine wallpaintings in its care: www.visitchurches.org.uk/wallpaintings

The Churches Conservation Trust’s unique online resource will cover the entire history of wallpaintings, from the first brushstroke in the 12th century to dazzling 19th century examples. Wallpaintings where created to educate, inspire, fear and motivate congregations – many of who where illiterate. The portal will help people understand how these works were created, how to unlock their meaning and read the stories they portray, how they are being conserved and their historical and national importance.

“Our charity cares for the largest collection of historic churches in the country. We believe that the best way to save these remarkable buildings for future generations is to bring them back into the heart of community life through people visiting and making use of the spaces,” said Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of the Churches Conservation Trust.

“The wallpaintings in our churches are national treasures. Our new project contributes in their survival by helping people understand their value, locate them more easily and visit our churches and read the interior of these wonderful buildings. We have catalogued over 24 churches and are actively fund raising to secure the final £30,000 to finish the project and capture the remaining 36 churches and their wallpaintings.”

The CCT’s new online resource will be the most accessible resource of its kind, featuring high resolution images, case studies of each church, a history of the development of wallpaintings and in-depth discussions on topics such as styles of dress depicted, the pigments and materials used to created the paintings and the role and meaning of the signs and symbols on show.

Visitors will be able to zoom into images to examine the detail of the wallpaintings and to scroll along a timeline covering historical events depicted in the paintings.

The Churches Conservation Trust is now raising £30,000 for the second phase of the project, which will photograph wallpaintings from 36 more churches. Phase two will also include interactive digital elements such as an invisible pen to outline the missing details of wallpaintings and a detailed education pack for schools.

Click here to visit the project website.

The Churches Conservation Trust from Setla Productions on Vimeo.

Source: Churches Conservation Trust