Discover DeCrypt Sanctuary project one step closer

Published: Tuesday April 16, 2024

A historic wall painting in need of conservationDiscover DeCrypt (St Mary de Crypt Church and Tudor Schoolroom) has been awarded a Round 1 Development grant of £117,500 by Heritage Lottery towards the Sanctuary Project.

The Sanctuary is the part of the church where the altar stands and contains artistic treasures about which very little is yet known.

On the back wall can be seen an important Tudor wall painting called The Adoration of the Magi. Recent research suggests that paintings of six human figures which are just visible beneath another damaged wall painting are medieval. They may potentially be of national importance.

In addition to the painting, there is a mediaeval single sedile (seat for clergy), a triple sedilia, an Easter Sepulchre (an archway where the crucifix and sacred elements are stored between Good Friday and Easter Sunday), triple sedilia, Victorian Reredos (decorative screens above the high altar) and stained-glass windows including the only credo window in English rather than in Latin.

Conservation reports indicate a real need to undertake major cleaning, conservation, and stabilisation of this area.

Although there are many significant pieces, very little is known about them and there is a need for research so that these treasures can be appreciated as part of our shared heritage.

The development grant will enable Discover DeCrypt to work on the plan and implementation of the proposed project. By employing a professional fundraiser to help secure the funding required to undertake the project, work on the project timeframe, recruit consultants and conservation students, undertake an environmental survey, conduct paint analysis, work on the activity plan and work on gaining all relevant permissions. During the development phase, the Round 2 NLHF application will be written, which if successful will see the work of the development round fulfilled and the Sanctuary area conserved and interpreted for present and future generations.

Volunteers will be critical to the project’s success by helping with research, fundraising, and welcoming visitors.

Discover DeCrypt plans to run concerts, events, talks and workshops, and run art classes and exhibitions for local school children.

St Mary DeCrypt logo - a colourful image showing a green church with blue buildings surrounding it

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