Weekend Novelist
I have been writing since first grade, though never in cursive. I love reading historical fiction, and no period captivates me more than the Wars of the Roses.

imageSource: Saint Peter and Saint Paul church at Pickering.

The fictional church in Colleville may bear the name of Saint Wystan (Wigstan), a Mercian saint from the ninth century, but the building itself is a conglomeration of several simple churches from the fifteenth century. The murals were partly inspired by those in the parish church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul at Pickering.

For The Second Great Mortality, the parish church at Colleville needed to be small and unimportant. I wanted it to bear the name of a local saint, so I chose the relatively little-known Wigstan and opted for the older spelling of Wystan. While doing research for another historical fiction project a couple years ago, I stumbled across an article about caretakers of a small Welsh village's church discovered stunning 15th-century wall paintings under 20 layers of limewash. Saint Cadoc's in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan, has undergone five years of restoration to uncover the murals, which include images of the seven deadly sins as well as a "ghoulish death figure."

Another church from the mid-15th century famous for its wall paintings is Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's in Pickering. It was built around 1140 in a simple criciform shape. A tower was added later as well as the chancel widened. Like those at Saint Cador's, the murals were hidden for centuries underneath coats of whitewash during the Reformation and spread of Puritanism.

The article that inspired the concept of wall paintings in Saint Wystan's can be found at: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25214557For additional information on St. Peter's and St. Paul's church, Pickering, visit https://pickeringchurch.com/visit/st-peter-and-st-paul-pickering/.