Llangybi: several generations of wall paintings

Our annual field trip up the Usk to Llangybi: we can get there, look at the medieval wall paintings and the holy well and get back within a 2-hour lecture. This year, the church was more than usually mysterious in the mist:

Image

The south wall is full of building history:

Image

probably a sixth-century church of wattle and daub, rebuilt in stone by the Normans but rebuilt again in the fifteenth century. Why? – partly the ravages of a century of economic crisis, partly the enthusiasm of local people for beautifying their place of worship.

Inside there is much to look at:

Image

 

The stairs to the destroyed rood loft

Image

lit at the top: the lofts were used for singing part of the liturgy, and sometimes for readings.

Image

The famous wall painting of the ‘Sunday Christ’ is virtually unphotographable – it’s easier to understand from this sketch hanging underneath.

Image

And why is this instructional painting, a warning against sabbath-breaking, in the chancel? Was my former student Eluned Martin right – did it mark the location of the Easter Sepulchre?

In the nave, another warning: the Weighing of Souls

Image

but to encourage you, the Virgin Mary is shown placing her rosary in the balance beam to weigh it down on the side of salvation.

These wall paintings were limewashed over at the Reformation and replaced with texts: the Creed

Image

and the Ten Commandments actually over part of the Weighing of Souls

Image

Finally, at the west end, a puzzle:

Image

the font, dated 1662 and decorated with the coats of arms of local families.

Image

The medieval font must have been destroyed during the Civil War and this replacement celebrates the restoration of both monarchy and Anglican church in 1660. In the end, Archbishop Laud got all he wanted: but of course he had been executed in 1645.

(Many thanks to Claire Lindsey McGrath for the photos)

 

One Response

Leave a Reply