Saving unique medieval wall paintings at Stoke Orchard
Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust is proud to be supporting a major conservation project to preserve medieval wall paintings at St James the Great in Stoke Orchard.
The wall paintings illustrate story of St James of Compostella and are unique in England. The church may have been on an ancient pilgrim’s route to Compostella in Spain. There are 28 panels with unusual decorative floral borders. The paintings cover pretty much the whole nave up to ceiling height.
Over the past 18 months, the PCC of Tredington and Stoke Orchard, the Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), the conservators of the Perry Lithgow Partnership and others worked together to plan, raise funds and deliver a conservation project at the church of St James the Great in Stoke Orchard. The project’s objectives were to consolidate, stabilise and clean the unique paintings adorning the walls of this grade I listed C12 church.
The conservation treatment has now been completed and the church will hopefully open its doors to worshippers and visitors in the coming weeks.
The Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust supported the project with grant funding on two occasions. We helped to fund the conservation and environmental conditions surveys and provided a grant towards the conservation treatment. Our Chair Colin Senior and the Grants Secretary Jonathan MacKechnie-Jarvis had an opportunity to visit the church to inspect the progress of work and meet the conservators. Our Council member Adam Klups was directly involved in the planning of the scheme and supported the PCC in his capacity as the DAC Secretary.
Although the conservation treatment was undoubtedly the most tangible of the project’s aims, the project group were keen to ensure that it delivered other important objectives. These included the ambition to create training opportunities for young people entering the conservation profession and to ensure that the project could excite and inspire the local community, as well as others across the Diocese of Gloucester and beyond. The project group recognised that telling the story of their conservation adventure and communicating what they have achieved, can help those who may wish to embark on similar projects and get involved with the heritage, and mission of their local church.
Together with Sam Cavender from the diocesan communications team the project group recorded a short video to celebrate the project and as a tribute to the project group, partners, supporters, and those who donated to help make this important project happen. You can see the video here.