Recent days have seen a series of news reports about a mid-fourteenth century effigy of a priest that had even all but forgotten about in the parish church at Barton upon Trent in south Derbyshire. Hidden for a long time behind the organ the effigy was revealed during a major renovation of the church and has attracted considerable attention.
One reason is the fact that it appears to be the earliest alabaster effigy of a priest. The second is the quality of the workmanship. The fact that the church is close to the main area of medieval alabaster quarrying and carving adds to our understanding of the trade. A third point of interest revealed by the effigy is through the survival of significant remains of the paintwork which once covered it. This is a reminder that painting effigies was usual and that we may miss much today when we see just the alabaster, however beautiful that may be in itself.
There is an account of the church - which has a Newman connection in that Alice Mozley, sister of St John Henry’s two brothers-in-law, is buried in the churchyard - on Wikipedia at St Wilfrid's Church, Barrow-upon-Trent
The recovery of the effigy is covered, with different details highlighted, by the BBC News at 'Nationally significant' effigy found in Derbyshire church, by The Guardian at Desecrated and hidden for centuries, priest's effigy is restored to glory, by the Smithsonian Magazine at Medieval Effigy Found Hidden Beneath English Church's Pipe Organ, by Penguinpr at Effigy of national importance discovered in St Wilfrid's in Barrow upon Trent and by thehistoryblog at Desecrated alabaster effigy emerges from shadow