Beautiful medieval wall paintings restored in Welsh church


A series of late-medieval wall paintings can now be seen again after being hidden away for hundreds of years underneath layers of limewash.

Conservation experts have spent several years restoring images at  St Cadoc’s Church in Llancarfan in southern Wales.  These paintings, which date from the 1480s or 1490s, include possibly the largest and best preserved image in the Great Britain of “St George and the Dragon” and four depictions of the Seven Deadly Sins – lust, sloth, pride and avarice. There is also a slightly later image, which Dr. Madeleine Gray of the University of South Wales describes as an “incredibly vivid and gruesome painting of a fashionably dressed young man being dragged away into the graveyard by this hideous death figure.”

saint george

The church is also unveiling another restored treasure – an intricate, gilded early sixteenth Century reredos screen. It is believed that this screen was possibly used a larger church or monastery and only moved to Llancarfan when it was 150-years-old, in the mid 1600s.




Conservator Hugh Harrison says, “Canopy work like the reredos at Llancarfan can be found in the choir in almost every cathedral and major church in England and Wales, but none of these grand arrays of woodwork are coloured and gilded as at Llancarfan.  This lively polychromatic scheme lifts this work to quite another level of sophistication.  It is also unique in using simple metal brackets to display the ornate pinnacles in front of the general canopy spires as though they float by magic…a daring concept not found anywhere else.”

This restoration project began in 2010 and was boosted by a £541,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The church of Saint Cadoc was founded around the year 1200. This saint also founded a monastery on this site in the sixth century.

The Archdeacon of Llandaff and Priest-in-Charge of Llancarfan, Peggy Jackson, added, “Since work began in 2010, this conservation project has prompted visits by people from all over the world. We have been gratified by the support and funding help we have received but we have also been touched by the enthusiasm and joy which the church has generated amongst its supporters and the wider public.”

Reredos-colour-detail

Source: The Church in Wales

Sharan Newman