The Charlwood Wall Paintings
Depicting our medieval past
The History of the Wall Paintings
The Story of St Margaret
St Nicholas and the Butcher
The Three Living and the Three Dead
The lower painting is of the Three Living and the Three Dead. This story is taken from an old French moralité written c.1290. It relates how three noble youths hunting in a forest are met by three hideous spectres, images of death, from whom they receive a lecture on the vanity of human grandeur. The skeletons say: ‘As you are, we were; as we are, you will be.’
This subject is found in fourteen other churches in England, but this is the only one where the princes, wearing crowns, are on horses. Two of the princes have hawks on their wrists. It was much in use at the time of the Black Death in 1348 but the Charlwood picture may have been painted before then.