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Rare medieval wall paintings of ornate crowns discovered at Cambridge University


Vita gazette – 16th-century murals discovered at Cambridge University. Construction workers working on a roof area at Cambridge University have uncovered medieval wall paintings that had been unknown for nearly 300 years. Three crown figures, each with different designs, have been rediscovered after 300 years on the wall of Christ’s College.

Construction workers working in a rooftop area at the University of Cambridge have uncovered medieval wall paintings that were unknown for nearly 300 years. The artwork, painted at Christ’s College in the early 16th century, was found in the oldest part of the building during restoration work.

Three motifs consist of crown figures; It depicts a red Lancastrian rose, a “portcullis”, a heavy-closing door, and an emblem possibly containing fleur-de-lis.

The artefacts were found in the First Court, the oldest part of Christ’s College, some date back to the 15th century. However, experts say the paintings probably date from the early 16th century and were last seen in the 1730s.

Christ’s College Cambridge was named “House of God” in 1437. It was re-founded as Christ’s College in 1505 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. The portcullis featured in one of the crown drawings was the badge used by the Beaufort family at that time.

Experts think the red Lancastrian rose was thought to be the coat of arms of one of the two dynasties fighting during the Wars of the Roses, but was most likely invented by Henry VII after his victory. The “Fleur-de-lis” symbol, consisting of lily flowers, has represented English kings since Edward III.

After the discovery, the archives were searched and found that the last time the murals were seen was around 1738. Keeping the roof area covered ensured that the paintings remained in good condition throughout the almost 300 years their existence was unknown.

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