Fears for future of frescoes in Croughton church

Medieval frescos at All Saints Church, Croughton. From the left, parishioners, Angela Robbins, Revd. Terry Richards, Fay Jackson, Peter Jackson, Auriel Warwick, Valerie Smith and Brian Smith and Revd. Simon Dommett with pictures of how the frescos used to look. NNL-170905-171636009
Medieval frescos at All Saints Church, Croughton. From the left, parishioners, Angela Robbins, Revd. Terry Richards, Fay Jackson, Peter Jackson, Auriel Warwick, Valerie Smith and Brian Smith and Revd. Simon Dommett with pictures of how the frescos used to look. NNL-170905-171636009

The fourteenth century wall paintings in a village church are at risk of disappearing says a local history expert.

Croughton resident Brian Smith has raised concerns the medieval frescoes in All Saints Church could be lost forever if nothing is done to protect and restore them.

One of the murals is a rare surviving sequence of the life of the Virgin, most depictions of which were destroyed after the Reformation. The paintings were discovered in 1921 under several coats of whitewash. In 1960, they were treated, but not restored.

Now Mr Smith is keen to launch a project to have the paintings brought back to their former glory.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Mr Smith said: “It is terrible something as valuable as the frescoes in Croughton are allowed to moulder into neglect. I have had a word with the vicar and the parochial church council and they seem interested I take up the cause because if it goes on for much longer, the paintings won’t be there.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for some organisation or some willing patron to say ‘let’s see if we can restore it before it is lost in perpetuity’.

“There is a lot of money that needs to be thrown at this. I don’t know how much, but it has got to be in the tens of thousands.”

The wall paintings are mentioned in Simon Jenkins’ book England’s Thousand Best Churches, where they are described as a ‘treasure house’ which can be compared with ‘contemporary and later work in Italy, even invoking the name of Giotto’.

Giotto was a painter and architect from Florence who is considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Renaissance.