North Wall of the Nave - East End

Look up at the nave wall opposite the organ. You will see an area that was conserved in 1988, and shows examples of paintings from all 5 layers.

First, you can see the original stencil pattern of deep red rosettes. They belong to the 1st layer painted in the 13th century.

Now, can you see a series of three shields? They show the Emblems of the Passion, and belong to the second layer from the early 14th century. One contains the crown of Thorns. Another the Five Wounds of Christ, – His bleeding heart, hands and feet, whilst another shows a Tau Cross.

Look to the left of the area now, and you will see a devil with horns and bat-like wings, holding a red-hot chain. This is part of the third layer of the early 15th century. It is a spillover from the painting of ’The Last Judgement’ on the chancel arch next to it. More of that in a moment.

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The beautiful large painting that dominates this whole area shows Mary, soon to be the mother of Jesus, to the left, meeting Elizabeth who was to be the mother of John the Baptist, on the right. It is known as ’The Visitation’ and belongs to the fourth layer of the mid 15th century. It was one of a series of three paintings commissioned at that time featuring the Virgin’ Mary. Pregnancy was not something normally portrayed in paintings of that period, but it is certainly very obvious here. Look at the lacing on the dresses to allow for further expansion.

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Finally if you look at the space between the first two arches, you will see a scriptural text. It is the 1st of the 10 Commandments that fill all 10 spandrels around the nave. Before the Reformation, any texts were in Latin. The fact that these texts are in English shows that they belong to the Puritan period of the late 17th century and form part of the fifth layer.