It is also interesting to note that whilst the restoration of
the North Transept was taking place not only were the wonderful medieval
paintings brought to life.
The wall paintings highlight the story of St. Edmund,
England’s original Patron Saint, prior to the introduction of St. George by the
foreign occupation forces.
St Edmund was born on
Christmas Day 841 AD, Edmund succeeded to the throne of East Anglia in 856. A
Christian from birth, he fought alongside King Alfred of Wessex against the
pagan Viking and Norse invaders (the Great Heathen Army) until 869/70 when his
forces were defeated and Edmund was captured by the Vikings. He was ordered to
renounce his faith and share power with the pagan Vikings, but he refused.
The paintings show the subsequent death of St Edmund.
In the lowest scene a figure on horseback is addressing three
ill-favoured men, variously armed with, sword, bow, and hatchet. The figure on
the horse holds up one hand in the form of entreaty, the other being laid on
his breast. The men evidently mean mischief, and their countenances depict
every evil passion.
The Danes finding him in their power, dragged him from his
horse, stripped and tied him to a tree, and shot him to death.
In the middle course, the compartment on our left represents
two Danes in the act of shooting, their bows are bent; and the King stands
opposite to them tied to a tree. After he had been thus killed, he was
beheaded, and thrown into a wood.