Forgotten mural rediscovered at church near lost Norfolk village

Aerial shot of Waterden church where a wall painting has been uncovered during restoration work. Pic

Aerial shot of Waterden church where a wall painting has been uncovered during restoration work. Picture: Skyz the Limit Photography - Credit: Archant

A previously unknown wall painting was uncovered during a £270,000 restoration of a tiny church in north Norfolk.

This 17C mural was discovered during restoration work at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive Wylie

This 17C mural was discovered during restoration work at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive Wylie - Credit: Archant

The metre-square mural was found at All Saints' Church Waterden, between Fakenham and Wells, and is thought to be 17th century. It contains faint traces of colour and the parish is seeking advice from conservation experts.

The church is located near the site of the lost medieval village of Waterden, which was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and disappeared for unknown reasons in the late Middle Ages.

Part of the stonework of a large arch was also found on the south side of the nave, which appears to match existing traces of an arch towards the west end. Both are thought to be part of a lost south aisle.

In addition, exterior work uncovered a short stretch of wall reaching out into the churchyard from near the south door.

Photo of the arch which was uncovered during the restoration at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive

Photo of the arch which was uncovered during the restoration at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive Wylie - Credit: Archant


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The church is a grade II* listed building, and the restoration is thanks to a grant of £210,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund supplemented with additional funding from the Norfolk Churches' Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Holkham Estate and the Geoffrey Watling Charity.

Father Clive Wylie, rector of Waterden, said: "The restoration has transformed the church and secured it for generations to come.

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"It is incredibly exciting that three new finds have been unearthed. The church has been celebrated by writers, artists, worshippers and clergy as unique because of its spirituality, remoteness and tranquillity."

The restoration has made the roof and porch watertight and given it much-needed guttering as well as improved drainage.

Restoration work at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive Wylie

Restoration work at Waterden church. Pictures: Fr Clive Wylie - Credit: Archant

Rotten timber has been cut away and new wood inserted to strengthen beams, roof trusses and braces in the nave. Buttresses and parts of walls have also been repaired.

Remedial repairs were made to stonework and brickwork around the whole building, ivy was stripped and lime mortar replaced.

Eight services a year are held at the church including a popular candlelit carol service on Christmas Eve.

The project has also made the church more accessible with a new five-place car park. There is a new orientation board in the car park, new road signs and literature.

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