Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain

[Image: Stained Glass Roundel]
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Norfolk: Bale, Parish Church of All Saints

O.S. TG 011367

The church has a fourteenth-century west tower with a niche that originally held a statue of the Virgin Mary; a fifteenth-century nave and north transept; and an early fourteenth-century chancel, which has a four-light east window with cusped tracery. The chancel did have three two-light windows on each side, but the north-east one is now blocked. 1 Although the church is dedicated to All Saints, the evidence of the glass here speaks for a strong Marian devotion in the fifteenth century, particularly to the Annunciation. 2 In 1938, the glass was releaded and rearranged by G. King & Son, and a description of the glass was published by Dennis King in 1940. 3

It is not now possible to say from which windows all the glass came. Two fourteenth-century prophets almost certainly were made for the side chancel windows, which would have furnished twelve lights for glazing. The prophets were probably part of a series of twelve, each with a prophecy, placed over twelve Apostles with Creed scrolls.

Part of a fifteenth-century series of Apostles with creed scrolls is also found here; a full series could have been accommodated in three nave windows (sV, sVI and nVIII) and the north window of the transept (nVI), although this rather unsymmetrical arrangement is unlikely and the possibility that some of the glass at Bale was brought from other locations cannot be discounted. 4

There were also at least five representations of the Annunciation here, all except one from tracery lights. The main-light Annunciation could have found a home in the transept, and the smaller figures may have occupied various tracery lights in the nave and transept. There are several references in wills to a light of the Blessed Virgin. 5 This was not at the high altar, and may have been in the transept, especially if this was used as a Lady Chapel (although there is no evidence for this). There are no antiquarian records for this church, but the extant small shields for Wilby may be connected to the Wilbys who, according to Blomefield and Parkin, were lords of the manor of Nugun’s or Noion’s in Bale in the reigns of Henry IV and Henry VIII, and presumably in between. 6 There are no historical indications of date, and the datings given here are based on style.


For the image in the tower wall, see the will of Erlinga Gryngson, 1480; NRO, NCC 62 A. Caston. Return to context
Devotion to All Saints may have been confined to the chancel. In 1458, Simon Sharyngton, Rector of Bale, left 5 marks to provide an image of the Trinity and All Saints (what today would probably be called an image of the ‘Te Deum’) to be placed in a tabernacle at the north end of the high altar, the usual place for marking the dedication of the church or altar; NRO, NCC, 99–100 Brosyard. Return to context
King 1940. He pointed out that the glass had been damaged by the effects of weathering, rusting ferramenta and birds’ nests outside, and by dust and cobwebs inside; much of the glass had also previously been fixed inside-out. Return to context
Counting the blocked chancel window as nII. Return to context
See the wills of John Hoppe, Thomas Goodknape and William Joly, all 1431 (NRO, NCC, 75 Surflete), and of Joan Drowry, 1438 (NRO, NCC, 42 Doke). Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IX, p. 357; King 1940, p. 61. Return to context
Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

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