A SOMERSET man is due to open Britain's only private gallery of fine art inspired by the Middle Ages in the village of Dunster's historic High Street.

The Medieval Gallery will bring back the lost world of the arts of the castle, manor house and cathedral in a collection spread over four rooms.

It will display and sell work by living artists who create medieval arts and crafts such as illumination, stained glass, painting, museum standard historical jewellery, arms and armour, furniture, and wall hangings all under one roof.

Artists featured in the gallery have previously existed in places like The Tower of London, Stirling Castle, Fountains Abbey, Salisbury Cathedral, Bath Abbey, The Royal Armouries and Hampton Court Palace.

There are some craft objects for sale too, and visitors will also be able to buy brass rubbings from one of the monumental brasses in the country.

Steve Beer, who had previously worked in Westminster Abbey and the Royal Museums Greenwich, talked about his motivation for starting the gallery: "I studied Medieval Art at university, love the period and saw that a lot of people were fascinated too.

"Just witness the number of TV documentaries on the subject and on the world of art, as well as the huge number of visitors that throng to castles and cathedrals every year.

"The period's art strives for a beauty and spirituality that resonates with many people, and its complex symbolism embraces many ideas."

The gallery is based at 14 High Street which Mr Beer says has been identified as the oldest building on Dunster's ancient High Street, dating back to 1323. The gallery opens on Saturday.