It has spent a good many years covered with dust, it survived the traumatic pillaging of the monasteries by Thomas Cromwell
and was "knocked about a bit" by Cromwell's ancestor Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War.
Despite being used as a roof of a cupboard that was filled with funeral effigies, a frame for a bust of William Pitt and its figurative painting sanded, scraped and repainted in differing colours, it has survived remarkably well. In 1827, someone finally noticed its significance but it wasn't until over seventy years later that restoration took place and this was just a couple of dabs of glue and some paint.
Originally, it would have been part of a solid gold altarpiece, decorated with jewels and painting that had been divided into five compartments depicting scenes from the Gospels, with Christ at is centre. It was made by using copper alloy, silver foil, pieces of glass, gold leaf, jewels and enamel. Ian McClure, of the Hamilton Kerr Institute for conservation in Cambridge, said of this piece
"It is so exquisitely painted that we can - thrillingly - show there was craftsmanship in this country in the 13th century every bit the equal of what was going on in Italy."