VLLAGERS IN Walsingham, site of England's most famous shrine to Our Lady, were amazed to learn this week that a remarkable, 15th century painting lies hidden beneath wallpaper in a former butcher's shop.
Workmen converting a house in the Norfolk village found some fine Elizabethan panelling beneath the Victorian wallpaper. Closer inspection revealed that beneath the panelling was a five-foot-high painting of a huntsman with hounds stalk
ing a stag, painted on a wooden mantel. Above the picture, painted directly on to the plaster, is a frieze of fantastical foliage and details of classical architecture. Experts believe the picture has been covered up for 400 years, which may account for hs excellent condition.
Walsingham has been a centre for pilgrims since the 12th century and, before Henry VIII destroyed the priory during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it was one of the most important monastic sites in Europe.