The presence of a Doom painting in St Michael's Church was confirmed in the early 19th Century when,
following the removal of boards on the Rood Screen (placed in the Chancel Arch between the
Nave and Chancel) the illustration of the Last Judgement was found.
The main part was painted on the wall above and around the arch in distemper,
with a wooden tympanum placed in the arch itself, being painted in oils.
The wall painting is no longer visible, the victim of a later restoration
of the church but a fragment of the painting can be seen in the splay
of the south-east window in the Nave.
Also surviving are painted chevrons which can be seen on the central
beam of the nave roof and adjacent side timbers.
The tympanum, which was removed from its original position, can be seen
hanging in the nave. This is the only part of the Doom painting to survive.
When examined in 1996 (Tobit Curteis Associates) the conclusion made was that both
the materials and painting techniques are consistent with the second half of the
15th century. This is certainly consistent with existing wills of that period.
The tympanum consists of five horizontal boards, measuring approximately
310cm x 115cm, having a semicircular top, shaped to be placed in the Chancel
arch. The painting shows six figures, four male (one wearing a papal tiara,
one a crown) and two females (one also wearing a crown) rising from their
graves on Judgement Day. These are painted in greater detail than the
background flowers. A vertical line of unpainted wood runs down the middle
of the tympanum indicating the position of the Rood.
Although not unique this painting echoes the religious belief held in
medieval England and it is our aim to preserve this masterpiece for future
Picture Captions:The Doom, overall view and a detail of a Queen rising out of her tomb on Doomsday. Below that a copy of the c1820 engraving
showing the Doom painting as uncovered above the Chancel arch. Our Doom fitted into this, with the purpose of providing a straight line
for the base of the mural painting. At the bottom, a needlework rendering of this image, made by a team of St Michael's ladies in the 1970s.