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Cotswold church work uncovers post-medieval artwork

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image captionEmergency work is being carried out to reveal the hidden post-medieval artworks
image captionThe biblical text and intricate borders were painted over in the 19th Century
image captionIt is the first time in 150 years that the paintings at St Nicholas Church have been exposed
image captionTests revealed trapped water was damaging the historic artwork

Paintings of biblical texts dating back to the 1630s have been uncovered on the walls inside a Cotswold church.

It is the first time in 150 years that the post-medieval paintings at St Nicholas Church in Saintbury have been exposed, according to conservationists.

The images consist of elaborately painted biblical text surrounded by an intricate and colourful border.

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) believes they were painted over with white paint during the Victorian era.

'Trapping water'

Following tests, it was revealed that the paintings were in danger of long-term damage and so the CCT has been carrying out emergency work to protect them.

Neil Rushton, conservation project manager for the trust, said: "Our investigations have shown that the modern synthetic paint covering the 17th-Century images has been trapping water that is damaging the historic layers underneath.

"To ensure the historic paintings are saved for future generations we are currently removing as much of the modern paint as possible, and in the process revealing the wall paintings for the first time in 150 years."

The church no longer has a congregation but the trust - which has saved more than 340 churches in England, 12 of which are in Gloucestershire - stepped in over two years ago to stop it being shut.

A number of ideas, including church trails and organised tours, are being considered by the trust to celebrate the building's heritage.

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