BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
St George found in Welsh church
The wall painting of St George in St Cadoc's (pic courtesy of Cadw)
The life-size painting was discovered during renovation work
A medieval wall painting has been uncovered during renovation work at a south Wales church.

A life-size image of St George standing on a slain a dragon was uncovered at St Cadoc's church in Llangattock Lingoed, near Abergavenny.

Discovered during recent renovations at the centuries old church, experts have described the painting as a "special find".

The painting is thought to have been covered up during the Reformation.

Ruth McNeilage who is a specialist in conserving wall paintings worked on the image.

"It is quite high quality - the background is very well preserved," she said.

"Unfortunately a monument was put in where the horse's head was so that is missing.

"But it is quite a special find and very unusual," she said.

Ms McNeilage who runs McNeilage Conservation said that having such a painting of St George, who is the patron saint of the English, in Wales was very unusual.

"There are quite a few examples of images of St George around but not in Wales," she said.

"But Abergavenny is very close to the English border and probably would have been under the control of the English at the time of the painting.

"I think everybody living nearby was convinced it was of St Michael when it was discovered but I had a feeling it was St George because St Michael would have had wings.

"But I think as Welsh people they would have preferred it to have been St Michael especially when it emerged that St George was standing on the dragon," she said.

St Cadoc's (Pic courtesy of Cadw)
The church underwent major repairs

The discovery of the painting was made while builders carried out renovations at the church.

Vital roof repairs had to be carried out on the building which dates back to the early 1200s.

A grant of more than 200,000 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw and the Welsh Church Fund, to fund the work.

During the renovation work there were fears that a colony of bats would be disturbed during the repairs.

However, the colony which includes the Lesser Horseshoe, which is an endangered species, the Long Eared and the Natterer, were unaffected by the work.

The Reverend Jean Prosser, parish deacon, said that they had no idea such a painting was in the church and it was only after three surveys were carried out that the painting was revealed.

"It was pretty amazing when we realised what it was," she said.

"You can quite clearly see St George, the horse and the dragon.

"It has got to be of national significance because there aren't many of these paintings around.

"We thought it might have been St Cadoc at first but then realised it was St George.

"But as England are doing so well in the football at the moment, we don't mind that it is in a Welsh church!" she said.

Baby bats thrive among builders
07 Aug 03  |  South East Wales
Bats roost in building work
21 Apr 03  |  South East Wales


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific