Wall Paintings ProjectFoul Facts

Medieval wall paintings weren’t always the nice, pretty images of Angels, Saints and Bishops that we tend to imagine today. Oh no. In fact, many medieval wall paintings were pretty nasty really. Can you imagine spending hours of your week staring at a picture of a man with a sword sticking out of his head? Or how about a picture showing all the lost souls being tortured by demons and boiled over a raging fire? Not the sort of thing you would imagine finding in a church you might think. Well, you’d be dead wrong. Here are just a small selection of Foul Facts about medieval wall paintings.



The church of St Peter Ad Vincula at South Newington in Oxfordshire has a fourteenth century wall painting of the Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket (Right). Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury who, on the orders of the king, was murdered in his own cathedral. The painting, which everyone would have seen every day, shows Becket with a sword sticking out of his head and blood splattering the wall. Yuk!

The church at Chaldon, Surrey, has a whole series of paintings that are not for the faint hearted! In one particularly nasty scene ugly demons and devils can be seen throwing lost souls into a big pot that sits above a raging fire. Boiled alive for ever and ever! Just in case that wasn’t foul enough the demons are using pitchforks to give the pot a good stir!

Text Box: © Roger Rosewell
Text Box: © Roger Rosewell