Conservation workers helping to preserve Eastgate House, Rochester have uncovered a mysterious face from the past.

The team of workers have been painstakingly peeling away layers of paint to reveal the original décor of the grade one listed building, which was built in the late 1590s by Sir Peter Buck, Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham Dockyard

While working on the final phase on the third floor of the building, they uncovered a pattern of black lines, similar to some extensive plaster painting already revealed on the second floor. After further meticulous work the conservators were stunned to find a man’s face looking back at them, which appears to be part of a 16th century decorative scene.

This amazing discovery throws new light on the theory that Sir Peter Buck used the room as his office in the 1590s, and could look from it across to the Dockyard in Chatham.

Eastgate House was awarded a first round development grant of £80,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2011. This has helped progress plans to repair and transform the house into a fantastic exhibition and community space.

In September the council will move on to the second stage of the lottery application process and submit more detailed plans for a full grant of just under £1m.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr. Howard Doe said: “This is one of the most exciting discoveries so far in our work to return this nationally important building to its former glory. The council remains committed to restoring and promoting the many historical and cultural sites Medway has to offer, which also includes proposals to refurbish Eastgate Gardens and our ongoing work with the Dickens Fellowship to preserve the iconic Dickens Chalet.”