United effort revives pictures of Doom

St Peter ad Vincula, Church, South Newington, Judgement Day wall painting (Doom Project). John Gardner, project lead. NNL-150428-114128009
St Peter ad Vincula, Church, South Newington, Judgement Day wall painting (Doom Project). John Gardner, project lead. NNL-150428-114128009

A year-long project to protect and enhance a 700-year-old artwork on the walls of South Newington church has reached completion.

The historic Doom paintings depict Judgement Day when the souls of the departed were sent to heaven or to hell.

The renovation of the unique embellishments to an arch in the church of St Peter ad Vincula was made possible through the fundraising efforts of a village committee.

“It’s been a nine-week restoration project,” said committee member John Gardner.

“Some hidden parts of the painting have been uncovered. The Victorians had plastered over it and what plaster hadn’t fallen off has been removed to reveal parts of the artwork we had never seen.

“Three conservators have been working on the restoration which has been paid for through some funds raised by the village, but also some very important grants.”

The project was awarded £25,000 through a Viridor waste disposal company community grant, £23,700 from English Heritage and £2,000 from pizza company Veni-ziana, which supports art renovation in historic buildings.

Mr Gardner said the church is open during the week so people can go in to see and enjoy the painting. Church services are continuing as normal but scaffolding remains in place.

An open day will be held on June 6 from 10am-5pm to show off the results of the restoration project.