Amersham Martyrs 500th anniversary mural
This mural was created by 12 Year 6 children from St Mary’s Primary School in Old Amersham, inspired and guided by local sculptor, Caroline Selvey. It was commissioned by Amersham Museum to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of first Amersham Martyr in 1511 and can now be seen in the Museum’s garden. To find out more about the Amersham Martyrs, click here.
Each child designed an individual tile to be part of the mural. The tiles were created by the children, then fired, glazed and assembled into the completed mural by Caroline Selvey. Each part of the mural symbolises part of the story of the Amersham Martyrs. The mosaic surround symbolises the sticks and faggots which were used to light the fires when the martyrs were burned at the stake. Title lettering is also ceramic. The centre-piece depicts the Bible which the Martyrs wanted translated from Latin, which only the Clergy understood, into English for everyone to read.
The tiles show different elements of the Martyrs’ story, and life in the 1500s:
- Amersham Church and flames to represent the burning of the martyrs.
- Sixteenth century character and dress.
- A cross to symbolise Christianity.
- Typical Tudor food
- The partial middle tile, which extends down into row three, represents an Amersham landscape with an execution fire at the top of the hill.
- An example of games from the 1500s with hand-carved spinning tops and cherries.
- Left: Amersham Market Hall as it was at the time of the Amersham Martyrs
- Right: a sword and cross to represent conflict between lay people and the church.
- A burning martyr.
- 1511, the burning of the first martyr with a faggot for lighting the bonfire.
- Burning faggots and flames.
With special thanks the Friends of the Museum who sponsored the project, to Caroline Selvey, to Julie Hills (Headteacher of St Mary’s Primary School), to Tabitha Rowley (Year 6 Leader) and to the 12 enthusiastic children from St Mary’s, some of whom are shown below with their work.