More than any other church I have visited, Ickleton demonstrates how extensively our churches were once painted internally. There were few areas that were not ripe for decoration, extending even into window splays and arcade soffits (undersides). Of course, as with most church frescos, some colours have survived better than others, but at Ickleton it is not hard to close one’s eyes and imagine it in its original glory.
The arcade painting is in four sections: from west to east we see The Last Supper, The Betrayal, The Flagellation (of Christ) and Christ carrying his cross. In the areas between the arches we see the Martyrdom of St Peter; the Martyrdom of St Andrew and what may be the Martyrdom of St Laurence.
Only the top part remains of the Doom painting. The Virgin Mary is portrayed as bear-breasted, leading to speculation that this is Mary Magdalene. That would be surprising if it were true, but the (excellent) church guide book points out that in c14 bearing the breast was a symbol of supplication, suggesting that in the picture the Virgin was pleading for the souls of sinners.
There are some very nice poppy heads on the benches. The nave also has a rather unusual feature of a double clerestory. The lower one is the original Norman, whilst the higher one resulted from the nave walls being raised in the c14 to accommodate wider aisles.
Finally, and unusually, I would like to mention the extraordinary collection of kneelers, all embroidered with scenes from Ickleton’s history. The dedication shown by those responsible for this magnificent record is worthy of comparison with that of those who created the frescos all those centuries ago.