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Transcribed by Sally Crane from Northampton “Chronicle & Echo” 27 February 1969 and “Mercury & Herald” 6 March 1969
Battle to Save Murals in Church is being won

A battle at Burton Latimer Church to save the priceless 14th century murals from being damaged by rising damp is being won.

The murals, on the north wall were first discovered in 1860 under many coats of limewash. They are thought to date back to 1300, and were probably executed by a leading artist of the time.

They depict the life and martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria. When they were discovered they were badly decayed, but Professor E. W. Tristram restored them in 1933 and also produced his own representations beneath each mural to show the artist’s original intentions.

The method used to combat the damp is known as "electro-osmotic damp proofing" which was developed about six years ago.

The system is based on the fact that all wet walls contain small electrical charges asso­ciated with the rising damp. These charges make moisture move by electro-osmosis.  If the charges are removed from the wall the rising damp stops at once. The charges are removed by placing an electrical circuit between the damp walls and the soil in which they stand.   

A team from a company specialising in this sort of work drilled a row of small holes into the church walls near ground level and looped a continuous copper strip into the holes running the strip along a mortar joint between the holes.

Copper covered steel earthrods were driven deep into the soil and connected to the strip in the walls completing the circuit between the walls and the soil. The rising damp has now stopped and the walls are drying out by evaporation.

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