Abingdon Abbey Buildings

The Tudor Wall Painting

The Long Gallery contains the remains of a wall painting on the plaster above one of the cross beams. These remains have been dated to the early 16th century by an expert from the Landmark Trust. The painting was originally coloured with red and green pigments from local plants. The design features roses and pomegranates, which were the symbols of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

According to the monks’ records Henry visited the abbey four times, and Katherine accompanied him on two of these visits. It is possible that the abbot had the painting made to impress the king who may have dined in the large three-bay room where the painting is located. There may have been similar paintings on all the trusses in the gallery.

Local artist Liese Cattle has carefully studied the painting and produced a colourful picture showing how it might have looked in the 16th century.

Visualisation of wall painting by Liese Cattle