Painting of William Cecil discovered behind walls of Wetherspoons pub

‘Incredibly rare’ painting of Elizabeth I’s chief adviser William Cecil is discovered behind the walls of Wetherspoons pub that dates back to 15th century

  • Conservators carried out restoration work at The Star in Hoddesdon, Herts
  • They discovered six Elizabethan wall panels in the Grade II-listed building
  • Another of the paintings shows a woman that looks like Queen Elizabeth I

An ‘incredibly rare’ painting of Elizabeth I’s chief adviser William Cecil has been discovered behind the walls of a Wetherspoons pub that dates back to 15th century.

Conservators carrying out restoration work at The Star in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, discovered six Elizabethan wall panels.

One of the panels is believed to show a painting of Cecil, who bought the Grade II-listed building in 1580.

Another of the paintings shows a woman that looks like Queen Elizabeth I, however the identity of the person has not yet been confirmed by historians.

One of the wall panels is believed to show a painting of Cecil (above) who bought the Grade II-listed building in 1580

Conservators carrying out restoration work at The Star in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, discovered six Elizabethan wall panels (pictured)

Another of the paintings shows a woman (pictured) that looks like Queen Elizabeth I, however the identity of the person has not been confirmed by experts

Mark Perry, of The Perry Lithgow Partnership, said: ‘The paintings are an incredibly rare find, not only in the fact that there are five together but also in the unusual subject matter.

‘They have local and national significance. You get occasional single portraits like this but to get five, and there may have been more before, is very rare.’

‘There are three males and three females and one seems to show someone who is a chancellor or treasurer because he is holding bags of money. The feeling is that this is probably Lord Burghley,’ Mr Perry told Metro.co.uk. 

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was Elizabeth I’s principal adviser, the Lord High Treasurer and a central figure in the Kingdom of England during the Tudor monarchy. 

Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. She ruled from 1558 until her death in 1603. 


William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was Elizabeth I’s principal adviser, the Lord High Treasurer and a central figure in the Kingdom of England during the Tudor monarchy

Mark Perry, of The Perry Lithgow Partnership, said: ‘The paintings are an incredibly rare find, not only in the fact that there are five together but also in the unusual subject matter’

The panels, which show figures dressed in the attire of the time, alternate between male and female and are accompanied by biblical inscriptions.

One depicts a woman holding a lap dog and the sixth shows the black outline of a simple floral decoration.

Although the bottom half of the panels have deteriorated and many of the paintings are missing patches, a glass and timber screen has been installed to protect the rare find. 

Wetherspoon hired conservators in 2014 to restore the pub, formerly The Salisbury Arms.

The panels, which show figures dressed in the attire of the time, alternate between male and female and are accompanied by biblical inscriptions

One depicts a woman holding a lap dog and the sixth shows the black outline of a simple floral decoration

Wetherspoon hired conservators in 2014 to restore the pub, formerly The Salisbury Arms

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