Painted rood beam

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire, originally uploaded by Vitrearum.

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire has a super little medieval church with loads of texture. The walls have the crumbling remains of layer after layer of wallpaintings, including loads of red ochre lining out.

Above the chancel arch the fifteenth century rood beam survives. Against a faded ochre background is picked out the rather startling inscription: 'Venite benedicte patris mea ite maledicte in ignem internam', i.e. 'Come you blessed of my father, go to the eternal fire, you accursed’, I suppose a paraphrase of parts of Matthew 25. Between the words are delicate sprigs of foliage.

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire

Among the wallpaintings here is also a rather lovely fourteenth century St Christopher, which is also worthy of inclusion in this post.

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire


Lapinbizarre said…
Nice St Christopher. Maybe the rood beam inscription, which assumes quite a level of literacy for a medieval rural congregation - or priest, for that matter - is a pendant to the Doom? Could the Doom still be up there, behind layers of whitewash, or is the visible painted-in masonry of too early a date to allow for this? Looks as though it may well be early.
Allan Barton said…
I had thought the same, except that the lined out masonry is, I think, contemporary with the figure of St Christopher, so about a hundred years earlier.
Allan Barton said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allan Barton said…
Of course there is a the possibility that a wooden tympanum was applied over the masonry lines, like the ones that remain at Penn in Buckinghamshire and at Dauntsey in Wiltshire. The doom tympanum at Penn occupies a similar position, considerably above the chancel arch.
Tim McClure said…
Ah, a very springy, lively expressive drawing for that period. I assume the artist is unknown. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
Digging around online looking for information about Opus Anglicanum, I found this blog. It's really terrific.

That Christopher figure is fantastic -- the layers and fading of the paint along with the texture of the papers gives this St. Christopher an ethereal "fragile-ness" with which he's not usually associated.

The featureless face of the Christ figure he carries gives it unintentional poignancy, as well.

It would interesting to see something like this stabilized but not restored and let time itself have a hand in the art-making...
Nat said…
Sorry to comment so long after the original post, but you might be interested to know that the clerks stall (facing into the nave on the south side) has a side panel made from painted boards. It seems likely these boards are part of an old Doom that went with this rood beam. You can still see the outlines of figures on them. More boards, similarly painted and removed from the church some years ago, were recently found in storage in Oxford.

The parish is also fundraising for roof repairs at the moment, so if you pop in any time soon do leave them a little something!

Nat (DAC sec, Diocese of Oxford)