Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain

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Norfolk: Bawburgh, Parish Church of St Mary and St Walstan

O.S. TG 153086

According to Blomefield and Parkin, the shrine of St Walstan here attracted many pilgrims and great wealth to the church, so that the chancel was rebuilt in 1309 and the church and the chapel of St Walstan on the north side were adorned. 1 Certainly in 1320 the chancel roof was rebuilt and the east window glazed, possibly the date for two small figures of angels in nIV D1 and D2, the only surviving fourteenth-century glass. 2 The rest of the glass is from the following century. A decorative campaign is documented between 1497 and 1524, which presumably followed an earlier building programme, when the perpendicular nave windows were inserted and glazed. 3 The heads of God the Father(?) and the Virgin Mary(?) now in I 2a and 2c could have been part of a Coronation of the Virgin, perhaps by the Trinity, as the heads face the wrong way for a normal Coronation type. A will of 1492 leaves £7 for rebuilding the chancel, but this was clearly not done, as the present chancel has intersecting Y-tracery. 4 Perhaps the money raised was used for reglazing the east window at this time, for which a Marian subject would have been appropriate, in view of the dedication of the church. The canopy tops in nV appear to be in situ, but would fit sIV or sV. The surviving glazing of sIV and sV suggests that both had in their tracery lights a central Annunciation flanked by a female saint on each side.

The style of the fourteenth-century angels can be related to early fourteenth-century East Anglian manuscript painting, in particular the Ormesby Psalter, given to Norwich Cathedral in the time of Bishop Salmon (1299–1325), and the Bromholm Psalter, made for Bromholm Priory c.1310–20. The closest comparison is with the pair of censing angels on f.99r of the Bromholm Psalter. 5 This may reflect a link with the patronage of the church, as the rectory was given to the Prior and Convent of Norwich in 1235 and appropriated by the bishop a few years later, but in 1315, the vicar was appointed by Bromholm Priory. 6

A number of different styles are visible in the later glass. The earliest, comprising the figures of Gabriel, St Barbara, canopy tops and Nunc Dimittis roundels, is late work of the Wighton workshop of c.1460–80, the Gabriel figure and the canopy tops being earlier than the St Barbara. 7 Of similar date or possibly a little later are figures of the Virgin Annunciate and St Margaret, which are associated with some Yorkist rose-en-soleil quarries dated to 1461–83. The head of a main-light figure of a crowned female saint, probably the Virgin Mary, is in the style of the William Heyward workshop, active in Norwich from c.1484 to 1506; 8 it probably dates from the 1490s. The head of God the Father, now glazed with it, is of similar scale and date, but by a different hand. The dexter half of a quarterly shield of arms, Azure a fesse between three leopards’ heads or (Delapole) impaling argent a chief gules, over all a lion rampant queue fourchée or (Chaucer) , now in window nIV, was almost certainly the one seen by Blomefield and Parkin ‘in a north window’. 9 This shield was born by John Delapole (1442–91), 2nd Duke of Suffolk. 10 He presented to nearby Drayton Church in 1480. 11 The sinister half of the composite shield is the coat of Winter, Chequy or and sable a fesse argent. This is unrecorded by the antiquarians, and may have been half of a whole shield of Winter, or the sinister half of an impaled shield. Robert Braunche presented to Taverham Church, some three miles away, in 1478, and this shield may be that of his parents John Braunche and Margery Winter. 12

At the Reformation, glass was probably lost when the chapel of St Walstan on the north side was taken down. The pilgrimage ceased, causing great hardship to the church, which was abandoned for a time. 13 However, in 1633, £300 was spent on a thorough restoration, and the church was brought back into use. Glass has disappeared from the church in more recent times. 14 In 1888, Winter saw a name, star, and coloured background above St Barbara, and in 1912 Sherlock mentioned a head of Christ with a crown of thorns. 15 In 1950, Woodforde saw a star at the top of an unspecified tracery light, probably that with St Barbara. 16

An inscription below sIV dated January 1897 says that it was restored in memory of Hicks Thomas and Marianne Deacle, and a similar inscription below sV records its restoration in memory of Edward Furness, who died 5 August 1896. All the glass was restored by G. King & Son after the Second World War, some under the War Damage Commission, and the rest in 1958. 17


Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, p. 389. Window nIV has apparently been re-used from the demolished chapel of St Walstan to fill the entrance, the outline of which is still visible on the outside. Return to context
Cattermole and Cotton 1983, p. 238. Return to context
1497, Hugh Alberd gave 16s. 8d. to making new roodloft (PRO, PCC, Horne 12); 1503, Robert Clarke gave 6s. 8d. to making the roodloft, and 2s. to paint the image of St Walstan (NRO, NCC, Popy 426–27); 1505, Thomas Shemyng senior gave 12d. to painting the image of St Walstan; 1524, John Tilney gave a bequest to gild a pane of the roodloft if he was buried there (NRO, NFK, Gedney 101). Return to context
Cattermole and Cotton 1983, p. 238. Return to context
Lasko and Morgan 1973, pp. 18–20. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, pp. 389–90. Return to context
The text of the Nunc Dimittis also appears at Norwich St Peter Hungate, where it is held by angels. See the catalogue entry ad loc. For the Wighton workshop, see King 2006, pp. cxliv–clii. Return to context
See King 2006, pp. 140–41. Glass by this workshop has recently been identified at East Harling; see the catalogue entry ad loc. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, p. 391. Return to context
Foster (1904, p. 310) gives the shield for William Delapole, John’s father, who died in 1450. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, X, p. 412. Delapole was also lord of the neighbouring manors of Costessey and Hellesdon (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, p. 410, and X, p. 426). Return to context
See the catalogue entry for Taverham. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, p. 389. Presumably the chapel was joined to the nave where the three-light nIV now is. This window may have been reused from the chapel to close the gap. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, II, p. 389. Return to context
Winter 1885–88, p. 8; Sherlock 1912, p. 171. Return to context
Such stars are a common feature of the glass of the Wighton workshop. See King 2006, figs 118–21. Return to context
See NRO (box 638, acquisition no. 2004/53), G. King & Son Work Books, job no. 4111. The work involved some rearrangement, including the moving of canopy tops in nIV to sV. See the pre-restoration photographs on the CVMA (GB) website, inv. nos. 009291, 009292, 009296, 009298, 015479, 015480. Return to context
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