But it now seems that the painting may have been in the area for a considerable time. Local 'character' Stan Mudrise (94) says he recalls the then heavily-varnished canvas, complete with frame, being use to patch up the leaking roof of his grandparents' outside lavatory, before that was destroyed by a bomb dropped from an off-course Zeppelin during the Great War.
Unfortunately the painting has, in the intervening years, been rather crudely restored, with the features of Caravaggio's original subjects now bearing more than a passing resemblance to the cast of 'Carry On Doctor'.
Experts from the National Gallery and the Courtauld Institute, as well as from Sothebys, are expected in the village at any time. They will be attempting to authenticate, and to try to put a value on, this immensely important work.
The Humiliation of St Kenneth is temporarily on display at Saunders & Co., where it can be viewed by appointment only.
The Humiliation of St Kenneth
Oil on canvas 40" x 30"