PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY AND ST PAUL, PICKERING

   
Built on site of Saxon Church. Consists of nave, chancel, north and south aisles, transepts and chapel, tower and spire, belfry, south porch.

Nave C12 and Transitional, with C15 clerestory. The remainder of church C14 and C15. Main feature is wall paintings of mid C15, above nave arcade, one of the most complete series in English churches. Late C18 pulpit. Effigies of crusader of mid C14, and truncated effigy of knight of same date. Effigy of knight of circa 1400. Late C18 and early C19 memorial tablets. Church restored late C19.

Pickering Parish Church is perhaps most famous for its collection of medieval wall paintings, which follow the medieval liturgical calendar. These were believed to have been commissioned in 1450, but were covered over at the time of the Reformation. Their discovery in 1852 was an accident, caused by plaster falling from the wall. Though he initially had them uncovered, the vicar at the time, the Reverend F. Ponsonby, disliked the paintings and insisted they be recovered, much to the frustration of the then-Archbishop of York. Ponsonby instructed WH Dykes to sketch the discoveries, but then had the images whitewashed. However, in 1876, a new vicar, the Reverend GH Lightfoot, took the decision to remove the whitewash and restore the paintings. The paintings cover the majority of the nave walls and depict scenes from the lives of the saints, the seven corporal acts of mercy, and the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, together with the harrowing of hell.
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