This article came from the Chronicle published September 1978. Page 13
Thirteenth Century Wall Paintings
Author: Mrs G.L.Brice
The Society’s visit to Sutton Bingham Church on 18 May to view the wall paintings, reminded us of a holiday we spent in Sussex a few years ago. Going to Brighton for the sole purpose of visiting the exotic Royal Pavilion, we decided after several hours amidst such overwhelming magnificence, to spend the remainder of the afternoon in the more natural glories of Preston Park.
This large park on the outskirts of Brighton was part of an estate given to Anne of Cleves by Henry the Eighth. Wandering through the spacious grounds we discovered a small church amid gnarled old trees. We were surprised, on opening the door, to find the interior in complete darkness, but on the porch wall was an electric meter and a notice requesting those who wished to view the church to place 5p in the meter. Obeying the instructions the venerable building was flooded with light.
St Peter’s church was built in 1250 on the site of the wooden church mentioned in the Domesday Book. Three wall paintings, thought to have been completed in the same century, were not discovered until 1832. These murals depict the Martyrdom of St.Thomas a Becket, the Weighing of Souls, and the Nativity. The use of wrong fixatives and the passage of time have, unfortunately, caused much deterioration, but it is hoped to save them with new techniques and modern solvents.
The thought that at any moment we might be plunged into utter darkness in this eerie place, caused a hurried retreat to the brightness and warmth of the outside sun.