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Wonderful wall paintings under the whitewash. . .

Caption for the above illustration: The north wall, displaying a Nativity framed by the Seven Ages of Man. At lower left is a cradled infant, helpfully labelled ‘INFANS’; next, we have Boyhood (see him spinning a top with his whip), then, mostly lost, Adolescence, followed by Youth (with a hawk on his wrist). Manhood follows (with sword), but, from then, things go downhill: Old Age (the figure clutching a bag, perhaps of money) is followed by ‘DECREPITUS’, with a crutch. Below are the Apostles James, John and Jude, part of a series of the 12. The scrolls originally spelt out the clause of the Apostles’ Creed that they were believed to have composed. The female figure (third from left) personifies the institution of the Church. Below them are birds – ostriches at the extremities – based on contemporary and part-fanciful books of birds and beasts, accompanied by more realistic cranes.

“. . .In September 1945, Hubert Horrell, dairy farmer at Tower Farm, at Longthorpe in Cambridgeshire, made an astonishing discovery. Removing layers of ancient whitewash in the first-floor room of the tower that gave the farm its name, Horrell was greeted by the hands, stares and bright colours of figures painted six centuries before. . .”

“. . .Recognising something special, he contacted Hubert Elliot, agent of Milton Hall Estates and the Fitzwilliams (of Wentworth Woodhouse fame), owners of the property since the late 15th century. Elliot and Capt W. T. G Fitzwilliam – later the 10th and last Earl Fitzwilliam – wisely turned to the Society of Antiquaries of London, which called in its Fellow and wall-painting specialist, Edward Clive Rouse (1901–97). . .”

To read more, go to this page …

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