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Longthorpe Tower

Longthorpe Tower is a medieval house near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, containing the most important surviving medieval domestic paintings in England.

They decorate the Great Chamber, an upper room of a tower, which was added to an earlier manor house.

This section of the building seems to have been erected in the early 14th century, possibly by Robert de Thorpe, steward of Peterborough Abbey from 1330 and tenant of Longthorpe Tower.

The paintings are generally dated to c. 1330 on stylistic grounds. The decoration covers all the walls, the window splays and the vault. In the vault are the four Evangelist Symbols and David with his Musicians.

On the walls and the window splays are the Labours of the Months, various birds and animals, the Apostles holding scrolls with the articles of the Creed accompanied by personifications of the Church, a scene involving a hermit, the Seven Ages of Man, the Nativity, the Three Living and the Three Dead, aWheel of the Five Senses and seated figures of Edward III and Edmund Woodstock, Earl of Kent.

There are several other subjects, the meaning of which is uncertain owing to the loss of the accompanying inscriptions. The reason for the inclusion of Edmund Woodstock (1301–1330), who was executed in 1330, is not clear: he was the most important tenant of nearby Peterborough Abbey, but there may have been some political meaning to his portrayal with Edward III.

The programme is encyclopaedic in character, combining religious and moral teachings with secular themes and including some unusual representations: the Wheel of the Five Senses, of which there is a related late 13th-century version in Tre Fontane Abbey, Rome, shows a wheel held steady by a king, possibly personifying common sense, with various creatures personifying the senses around its perimeter.

Longthorpe Tower Visits

Inside of Longthorpe Tower can be seen one of the most beautiful and significant collections of 14th century domestic wall paintings in Europe.

Longthorpe Tower is open for visits. For more information about the tickets and opening hours visit the the official website.

Longthorpe Tower Map

The Longthorpe Tower is located in the village of Longthorpe near Peterborough, UK, at the following address: Thorpe Rd, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE3 6LU, UK. Get help with directions using this map:

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Longthorpe Tower Photos

Longthorpe Tower

Longthorpe Tower

Longthorpe Tower stairs