Simon Cotton finds the angelic in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Somerset


The magnificent roof to the nave of Isleham church (1: Cambs) carries an inscription recording the fact that it was the gift of Christopher Payton in 1495. It features alternating hammerbeams and tiebeams, the former with angels, several of whom are original (2), bearing the Instruments of the Passion.

These roofs would originally have been coloured, and colouring survives in several places, as at Bardwell (3: Suffolk), where one angel holds a shield with the (repainted) date 1421, or Salle (4: Norfolk). At Muchelney (5: Somerset), the painting is early 17th century, with angels clothed in Elizabethan dress.