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Photos: Big reveal

27 October 2011

by Paul Wilkinson

Big reveal: three rare wall-paintings of biblical texts (above) have been ex­posed during the restoration of a 17th-century farmhouse in the York­shire Dales.

They were found beneath lime-wash in Cowside, a remote empty homestead outside the hamlet of Yockenthwaite, in Langstrothdale (below). The quotations are from the King James Bible: “Whether ye eat, or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God Cor[inthians] X:31”; “For of him and through him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Rom[ans] XI:36”; and “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Pro[verbs] XV Cha[pter] 17 ver[se]”.

The work was part of a £600,000 restoration by the Landmark Trust.

Caroline Stanford, a Landmark Trust historian, said: “Despite its datestone of 1707, reset from a porch now lost, we know Jane and Francis Slinger were living at Cow­side in 1682. Their son, William . . .be­came an Anglican clergyman, Master of Colchester Grammar, and chaplain to the Bishop of Lon­don.”

The paintings suggest that, far from being poor agricultural stock, the farmhouse’s occupants were literate, prosperous, and religious.

“Studies in other parts of Britain have shown that middling homes, as well as the very rich, had these wall paintings,” Miss Stanford said. “But they do not seem to have survived in Yorkshire. To find these in a Dales farmhouse, and executed in such a skilled way, is really quite exciting.”


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