The Doom painting

The Doom painting above the Chancel archway is sadly very difficult to see. Use Rouse’s drawing and description below to get an idea of the position of elements in the painting, then try zooming in using your phone’s camera; judicious application of filters can help to bring out some details.

Rouse’s drawing of the 15th century Doom painting above the Chancel arch in Corby Glen Church
Rouse’s drawing (1940) of the Doom or Last Judgement

Above the chancel arch, and overlapping on the north and south return walls of the clerestory, in the usual position, is a great representation of the Doom, or Last Judgement. Though much mutilated on account of settlements in the wall and the perished condition of the plaster, enough remains to follow the setting out of the whole composition. 

In the centre at the top, where the blocked window is now exposed, was Christ in Majesty seated on a rainbow judging the quick and the dead. One side of the rainbow remains and the right hand upraised, and portions of drapery. This figure was flanked by a group of Apostles on each side, all barefoot and some carrying symbols. 

In the zone below this are two flying Angels near each corbel, sounding a literal “last Trump”, with scrolls inscribed “Resurgie Mortui”.

15th century wallpainting of the resurrection of the righteous

Below the Angel on the north side is a group of resurrected souls, headed by Kings and Queens, about to received into the Heavenly Jerusalem by St Peter, shown on the north wall as masonry buildings with towers and gates with Angels at intervals. 

Below this, on the east and north walls, is the General Resurrection, with souls in shrouds with a cross on the front of the face emerging and pushing back the lids of coffins.

On the other side are traces of other souls awaiting the Torments of the Damned. A demon in a pointed cap stirs souls into a cauldron, while a diminutive devil fans the flames with a pair of bellows beneath.

On the south return wall is the Mouth of Hell, shown, as usual, as the open jaws of a great eared and horned monster with a baleful eye. Above is an engaging little scene of yet another demon stringing up a figure on a gallows. The figure holds a duck in one hand and another bird in the other, perhaps a playful[!] warning to the local poachers. 

15th century wallpainting of the mouth of Hell, part of the Doom painting

The central section of the east wall served as a plain red background, with perhaps some black diaper or brocade pattern, for the carved wooden figures of the rood group. These stood on top of the rood beam or loft, and the blank spaces purposely left unpainted, in front of which stood the Crucifix and the figures of Saints Mary (north) and John (south), are plainly visible.

15th century Doom painting
Central section of 15th century Doom painting
The Church of St John the Evangelist, Corby, Lincolnshire, by E Clive Rouse (1941)


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