The church of St Mary’s, Lakenheath, is a Grade 1 listed building, parts of which date back to Norman times. In the Middle Ages the church housed the shrine of Our Lady of Lakenheath and, like the majority of medieval churches, its walls were richly decorated with religious imagery. Today only about ten per cent of churches have any surviving traces of this once commonplace decoration – which makes the care and conservation of the Lakenheath paintings even more important.

In Lakenheath there are several layers of paintings, one on top of the other, dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. During the religious Reformation of the 1540s the paintings were ordered to be covered over with lime wash and the shrine was removed. The paintings next saw the light of day when they were uncovered during a restoration of the church in 1864.

Since their rediscovery in the nineteenth century the paintings have sadly suffered a certain amount of decay and deterioration. In 2003 a specialist report identified a number of specific problems with the paintings and recommended a programme of conservation. Thanks to the generous funding of the Parish and District Councils, The Council for the Care of Churches, The Anthony and Elizabeth Mellows Charitable Trust, Suffolk Historic Churches and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) this conservation work is now being undertaken.

Matthew Champion (Project Manager)

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Wall Paintings Project

Wall Paintings Open Day and lecture by Roger Rosewell.

Saturday 18th July


Lakenheath Church to take part in Festival of British Archaeology. Lecture: Conservation and Conflict.

Saturday 25th July


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