Little Tey - St James - Interior
This simple Norman church, built c.1130, has a chancel apse. In c.1280 a series of pictures depicting the Passion was painted around the apse. 40 years later these were overpainted with another series of passion paintings and additional paintings were added along the north and south walls. Fragments of medieval wall painting are regularly uncovered in medieval churches, but the discovery of complete narrative schemes is unusual. In later years the entire interior was limewashed and distempered, hiding the paintings. This wash was scraped back and replaced several times from the 18th century onwards. In the 1960's the church was given a coat of emulsion. This began to flake off in the 1990's revealing fragments of the medieval pictures, and a thorough restoration was performed. Some of the paintings are in very poor condition due both to their age and the repeated scraping, but what remains is still powerfully evocative.