A man renovating his kitchen has discovered a 400-year-old wall painting of “national significance” in his flat in York.

Parts of the fridge, dating back to around 1660, were found last year by kitchen fitters at Luke Budworth’s flat in Micklegate, York city centre, and have since been fully uncovered.

The paintings are believed to be older than the buildings on either side of the wall and are based on scenes from the 1635 book Symbols written by the poet Francis Quarles.

Budworth, a medical researcher at the University of Leeds, said it was “bonkers” to think the painting was there before historic events such as the Great Fire of London.

He told news agency SWNS: “The first people to find it initially were the kitchen fitters who saw it under my kitchen cupboard. When they found it, I knew there was a parallel piece of wood on the other side of the chimney that could have the same thing. I’d never heard of it before. Didn’t think so, I thought they were the pipes behind it.

The artwork in Luke Budworth’s flat dates from around 1660. Photo: Luke Budworth/SWNS

”We always knew there was a strange piece of wall but just thought the flat was really amazing because it’s been a million different things over the years. I got really excited, grabbed my tools and started tearing it up. At first I thought it was old Victorian wallpaper, but soon I could see it was actually painted on the wall of the building next door – so it’s older than this building.

He added: “It’s absurd to think it was here before the Great Fire of London and things like that.”

Budworth moved to York from Warrington, in part because of the town’s history, he said. However, he said it was “amazing” to have the paintings in his home, describing them as a burden because there was no funding available to preserve them.

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He has received help from Historic England to re-cover them to help prevent damage.

He added: “We’ve printed high-resolution versions of them and put a replica on them to cover them. Hopefully we can get the word out and see if any societies or PhD students want to do some experimental conservation projects. I hope so too. That it makes other people in Micklegate start to look suspiciously at their own walls.


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