The church of St Mary at Deerhurst in Gloucestershire is well known for its Anglo-Saxon fabric and sculpture. In 1993 a painting of an Anglo-Saxon figure was discovered, and in 2002 it became possible for the authors to study the painting in detail.
The painting is on one of a pair of triangular-headed stone panels set high in the internal east wall of the church. The discovery provides a significant addition to the tiny corpus of known Anglo-Saxon wall paintings. The identity of the standing, nimbed figure remains elusive, but the figure can be tentatively dated on art historical grounds to the middle to late tenth century.
The authors also explore the structural context of the painting. It is suggested that in the first half of the ninth century the church had an upper floor over the central space (the present east end), and that this floor possibly extended over the whole church. At the east end, there were internal openings from this upper floor into a high-level space in the polygonal apse. At a later date two of these openings were blocked and covered by stone panels, one of which is the subject of this paper. It is possible that the panels flanked a high-level altar or an opening through which a shrine, set on a high-level floor in the apse, could be viewed.