A Cheshire man renovating his kitchen discovered historic 400-year-old paintings of ‘national significance’ – on the wall of his flat.
Luke Budworth, 29, from Warrington, was shocked to find the ancient friezes at his home in Micklegate, York. It is thought that the paintings may date back to 1660 – older than the flat itself.
The first piece of the painting was discovered by kitchen fitters who were refurbishing Luke’s kitchen late last year.
Since Luke has discovered more pieces to the painting that were found boarded up below the ceiling on both sides of the chimney.
Experts believe the wall the scenes are painted are possibly older than the buildings on either side.
Historic England said the paintings may be of national significance and provide insight about the history of the historic street.
Dr Luke, a medical researcher at Leeds University, said: “The first people to originally find it were the kitchen fitters who saw it under my kitchen cupboard.
“When they found it I know there was a parallel piece of wood on the other side of the chimney that could have the same thing.
“I never thought anything of it before, I thought they were pipes behind it.
”We always knew there was an odd piece of the wall but just thought the flat was really wonky as it’s been a million different things over the years.
“I got really excited, grabbed my tools and started ripping it off. At first I thought it was old Victorian wallpaper, but soon I could see it was actually drawn onto the wall of the building next door – so it’s older than this building itself.
“It’s estimated that it’s from around the 1660s, so the civil war era. ‘It’s bonkers to think that it was here before things like the great fire of London and things like that.”
The painting features scenes from a 1635 book called Emblems written by poet Francis Quarles.
Coincidentally, when Luke, originally from Warrington, first moved to York in October 2020, one of the things that drew him to the area was it’s historical significance.
He hopes to secure funding for conservation work to be carried out on the painting and help discover more about the social history of the area.
He said: “One of the main draws to me living in York was that it’s so historical. Now to know that the history isn’t just outside it’s inside my flat too is amazing.
“I’m very excited to have found them and loving them, but they’re also kind of a burden. From what I gather there’s no external funding and conservation fees are thousands of pounds.
“I’ve covered them up for now so direct sunlight doesn’t hit them and make them lose their colour.
“We’ve printed off a high-res version of them and put the replica on top to cover them up.
“Hopefully we can get the word out and see if any societies or PhD students want to do some experimental conservation projects.
“I also hope that this inspires other people on Micklegate start looking at their own walls suspiciously.”
Historic England’s senior architectural investigator for the north region, said it was an “exciting rediscovery”.
“We think they are of national significance and in the context of York, where domestic wall paintings are quite rare, they are of special interest,” he said.
A spokesman for Historic England said: “We think they are of national significance and in the context of York, where domestic wall paintings are quite rare, they are of special interest.”
Historic England has covered the friezes and help preserve them.