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Shakespeare Connected - Discovering the Guild Chapel

The Life of Adam

The Life of Adam: behind the paneling on the south wall (Perry Lithgow)

‘Iabell founde fyrste y[e] crafte to make tentes for sheldes & foldys for shepe/ & to change y[r] pasture & ordeynd flockes of shepe & depted y from the gheets’ (SBT DR 624/31)

In 1955 Puddephat also identified scenes from the Life of Adam on the south wall of the nave. The Life was a preface to the Legend of the Holy Cross which told the story of the death of Adam, during which seeds planted in his mouth became the Tree from which the Crucifix was cut. It also included stories of the children and wives of Cain, the origins of crafts, the death Cain, and the prophecy of Ada.

In 2016 the Town Trust temporarily removed one of the panels on the south wall, revealing a scene from the origins of crafts transcribed by Puddephat. The quality of the surviving paintings behind the paneling suggests there is considerable potential for further research and conservation work on both the Life of Adam and Dance of Death.


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