Church wins lottery cash to uncover treasured painting

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LOTTERY funding of £100,000 has been confirmed for the restoration of a “hidden” mural at Hoylandswaine Parish Church in Barnsley.

Artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope painted The Ascendancy of Christ on the east wall of the church when it was built in the late 1860s.

The painting shows Christ’s ascension into heaven, surrounded by angels, and is painted with the same rich colours of the stained glass windows above.

However, it was painted over in the 1960s because of problems with damp and has been hidden since then.

Yesterday, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) confirmed grant funding £100,000 to restore the mural, in a project set to begin later this year and be completed in 2014.

A spokesman for the HLF said that the project will also enable “local people to discover the origins and explore the history of the church, the painting and the life and times of the painter.

Elizabeth Charlesworth, from Hoylandswaine Parish Church, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will support local people in discovering more about their history.”

Dr Fiona Spiers from the HLF added: “We are delighted to support the Hoylandswaine community in the conservation and restoration of this local hidden gem.”