Well, I say wanders, it was more of a driving tour with a little bit of crutching on my part, but still! My Dad took me out for lunch today and I took some pretty cool photos…
We also went to see the Wenhaston Doom, a medieval church painting that through some strokes of lucked survived the reformation and was rediscovered in the late 1800s, when rain water washed off the coating of white wash. It is generally considered one of the best preserved examples of this type of painting in the country. When you consider that it is over 500 years old and spent a large amount of time white washed, you can see why the history geek in me did a little dance. (Yes this is what a history degree that focused on the medieval period does to you!)
The spectacular quality of this painting is even more remarkable when you consider that it is preserved and maintained by a small, country parish church. We walked in there for free, and whilst we did give a donation towards the church, there was no imperative to do so. The doors were unlocked, and whilst I have no idea how much the painting is worth, I imagine it is a substantial amount. The fact that anyone can walk in and bask in the glory of this amazing art work is a testament to church which maintains it, and a culture which values such historical statements. I was impressed.
I’ve been inside churches in Italy and Poland, which were obviously untouched by the reformation and seen the effect which this amount of religious art can have whilst in a place of worship. I am so used in British churches and to just seeing whitewashed walled everywhere, so I think it is worth a moment to imagine what the effect of these painting would have been to their original audience. They depict certain scenes from the Bible which tell of Judgement Day, and the effect on a largely pre- literate congregation cannot be under estimated. It was a good trip.
Okay, history lesson over!
How has your Thursday been friends?