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Saints Peter & Paul. The two saints are painted in a parti-coloured roundel placed centrally in the space between two arches. Each holds up his right hand in greeting, perhaps of each other, perhaps of us. Each also has his attribute or means of identification, Peter (on the left) his key of Heaven, Paul the sword of his martyrdom. Peter and Paul, who share a feast day on June 29, are often shown together as founders of the church, representing respectively the original Jewish element in Peter, and the Gentile in Paul.
Placed as they are in the central space between two arches, they are given much greater prominence than the Baptism at the left or the Stoning of Stephen (the edge of it just visible on the right). This may mean nothing at all - although there are a number of paintings (and were probably once more) at Black Bourton, it is impossible to speak of anything like a coherent scheme. There were probably once more Infancy scenes on the opposite side of the nave - a battered Angel appearing to Joseph is still there, close to the Adoration of the Magi. Otherwise the choice of subjects seems haphazard - St. Christopher in the expected position almost opposite the South Door, a Tree of Jesse, The Martyrdom of Thomas Becket, and, by the Vestry door, remnants of a painting of him Vesting for Mass, St. Richard of Chichester and two Bishops who may also be saints, and the Coronation of the Virgin. But these two paintings raise again the difficult distinction between Devotional painting and that of a mainly narrative character.¹ Maybe it is significant that the two (existing) paintings - these two saints and the Coronation of the Virgin - made prominent by their placing within roundels might indeed be thought of as Devotional subjects.
We have a Victorian vicar, Canon James Lupton (Vicar, 1827-1873) to thank for the uncovering and preservation of the paintings at Black Bourton in 1866. During his absence in London, however, his curate and a churchwarden covered them with whitewash again. The furious Lupton wrote to Christ Church College, Oxford, owners of the local farm tenanted by the churchwarden, saying that this had been done by my curate and your tenant...contrary to my wishes and express desire.² Which side Christ Church took in the dispute I do not know, but ironically, we have the iconoclastic curate and churchwarden to thank as well, because the paintings were preserved under their whitewash until EW Tristram found and uncovered them again in 1932.
¹A distinction briefly discussed in these pages in connection with the Detached Crucifixion
²A History of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Black Bourton, Oxfordshire (booklet in the church) n.d.
|St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland||St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire||St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire||St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk||St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent||St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs||St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW|
|St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk||St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants||St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks||St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk||St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW||St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon.||Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham NEW|
|St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs||St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk||St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk||St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent||St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk||St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk||St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks||St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland||St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk||St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon||St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks||St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants||St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks||St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs|
|St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs||St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks||St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk||St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants||St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk||St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks||St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk||St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk||St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon||St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire||St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks||St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW||St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks||St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk|
|Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire||St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex||St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks||St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk||St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire||St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants||St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks|
|Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset||St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent||St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk||St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants||St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire||St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland||St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey|
|Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex||Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire||Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW||St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds||St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset||St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks||St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk|
|St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire||St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon||St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon||St. Paul : Selling, Kent||St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon||St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon||St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants|
|St. Peter : Selling, Kent||St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs||St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs||S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon||St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon||St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk||St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants|
|Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire||St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs.||St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset||St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire||St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk||St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire||St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk|
|St. Zita : Horley, Oxon||St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon||Unidentified female saint : Heydon|
Sacred Destinations has contact information for St. Marys church
© Anne Marshall 2002 5/3/13