St Mary’s ‘Ceiling of Kings’ is completed
In 1445, 40 portraits of English Kings were painted onto the ceiling of the chancel.
The completion of this so-called ‘Ceiling of Kings’ can be dated precisely on account of the text that accompanies the portrait of King Henry VI.
The Latin words on the scroll record that work on the ceiling was finished in the 23rd year of Henry VI’s reign, that is 1445. In 1445, Henry VI was only 24 years old, hence his youthful appearance in this portrait.
In 1448, shortly after the ceiling was completed, Henry VI visited Beverley. During this visit, the king progressed around the town, and perhaps entered St Mary’s, in which he would have been able to look upon his own likeness in the ceiling of the chancel. For almost 500 years, the Ceiling of Kings has represented a remarkable tribute to English monarchy.
To learn more about the Ceiling of Kings, see Ten Things to See in St Mary’s.