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A history buff stumbled across artworks which may date back to the 17th century while his kitchen was being renovated. The friezes, which may date back to 1660, were uncovered at the home of Dr Luke Budworth in Micklegate, York.

Kitchen fitters came across the first section of painting under a cupboard.

The religious artwork features scenes from a book entitled Emblemes which was written by the English poet Francis Quarles and published in 1635.

Soon after the initial discovery, Dr Budworth found more sections behind boards under his ceiling on either side of his chimney.

Dr Budworth, 29, said: “When they found it, I knew there was a parallel piece of wood on the other side of the chimney that could have the same thing.

“I never thought anything of it before. I thought they were pipes behind it.

“We always knew there was an odd piece of the wall but just thought the flat was really wonky as it’s been a million different things over the years.

“I got really excited, grabbed my tools and started ripping it off.

“At first I thought it was old Victorian wallpaper, but soon I could see it was actually drawn onto the wall of the building next door – so it’s older than this building itself.”

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Dr Budworth said it has been estimated the work is from around the 1660s, during the civil war era.

He added: “It’s bonkers to think that it was here before things like the Great Fire of London and things like that.”

Historic England has helped to cover the friezes in a bid to preserve them.

A spokesman for Historic England said: “We think they are of national significance and in the context of York, where domestic wall paintings are quite rare, they are of special interest.”

Dr Budworth, a Leeds University medical researcher who originally hails from Warrington in Cheshire, was drawn to York because of its history.

He said: “To know that the history isn’t just outside it’s inside my flat too is amazing.”

Now Dr Budworth hopes to secure the funding needed to conserve the work.

He has urged neighbours in Micklegate to check their own walls for signs of similar historic works.

News of the discovery came ahead of an announcement that Yorkshire and the Humber are to receive almost £5million from an almost £60m pot of arts funding.

Seventy museums, public libraries and other venues will receive investment in places including Red Wall areas such as Walsall and Stoke-on-Trent.

They will share a pot of £58.8m as part of what the Government bills as plans to “make sure everyone, no matter where they live, can access the UK’s world-renowned culture”.

Bradford, which was named UK City of Culture for 2025, will receive £4.9 million to redevelop the Kala Sangam intercultural arts centre and other resources to establish a network of local arts hubs.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This investment will help to level up access to arts and culture for everyone, no matter where they live.”

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Culture, heritage and the arts all contribute to people’s sense of belonging and place. These grants will help to reinforce this and we welcome them.”

The package follows the announcement last year of a new national portfolio of funding for museums, libraries and other art organisations for 2023 to 2026, which includes investment for 276 institutions that were not previously part of the programme.

It means a total of 990 institutions share £446 million each year, up from 714 previously but resulting in many long-standing institutions seeing a cut to their annual funding.