The discovery of medieval frescoes during repairs to a crumbling English country church has given experts a glimpse in the village's medieval past. The wall paintings at St Mary's at Houghton-on-the-Hill date to around the 12th century.
Churches at this time were the center of the community's life - in good times and in bad - including during the Black Plague which caused the demise of hundreds of medieval villages. In these towns, the churches were "gathering places for the whole community where the realities of life and death could be represented pictorially, enabling everybody to recognise and share the essential truth of their own experience. The daily perception of the individual was at the same time that of his or her neighbour, and could be communally acknowledged through the paintings which gave meaning to the ritual of worship as well as reflecting the familiar challenges of the everyday."