Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert was welcomed to St Botolph’s Church, Hardham, by his former English master on Friday (15 December). Simon Watson, one of the volunteers who helps to preserve St Botolph’s and its art, invited Mr Herbert to see the Church’s holly and ivy display and view its famous frescoes. It is traditional for churches not to display flowers during Advent, but holly and ivy decorations are permitted. The seasonal display has attracted visitors to the church where they have also been able to learn about the ancient frescoes.
Grade 1 listed St Botolph’s contains the earliest nearly complete series of wall paintings in England. Dating from the 12th Century, they were hidden from view until uncovered in 1866.
Simon Watson taught Nick Herbert English at Haileybury College some four decades ago. Mr Herbert said: “St Botolph’s is a very special church in my constituency, one of the oldest and most culturally important. It was a pleasure to see its unique wall paintings again, and I was very grateful to Simon and Katie Watson for their kind invitation.”