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Answered 2011-09-18 20:29:19

There were a number of different types of paintings in churches.

In the chancel and on the altar would be small free-standing pictures of the Saints, which today are called icons - Alexander Neckham gives "A Little Mary and other images" in his list of contents of a church around 1180. The word "icon" was not used in England until much later, but this seems to be what he means.

The walls and ceiling of the church would be decorated with pictures of The Bible stories and the lives of the Saints. Neckham does not mention these paintings by name but we know that all medieval churches had them and there are even depictions from the time of wall-painters at work. It is likely that the Anglo-Norman word image was used to describe these paintings since it is the same one that Neckham uses for the free-standing icons.

Church interiors were also painted with brightly-coloured patterns and blocks of colour; the walls, arches and pillars at Rochester cathedral were originally painted in broad blue, green, yellow and red stripes (no trace remains today).

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