East Harling Church contains the most important collection of fifteenth-century glass by Norwich glass-painters outside that city. Most of it has been gathered into the east chancel window, which now contains the remains of a number of windows, but fourteen other windows also contain lesser remains of medieval glass. 1 Apart from one or two fragments of fourteenth-century glass in I 3e, a few fifteenth-century eyelets in nIV and nV, some reset fragments in sVI, and some sixteenth-century heraldry brought in from the hall and placed in sIV, all the glass and much of the building as it now stands can be associated with a remarkable patron, Anne Harling, who was active throughout the second half of the fifteenth century. 2 The best-known and most significant panels are the fourteen main-light scenes of the Infancy and Passion of Our Lord, which can be shown to have come from the east window of the Lady Chapel, sIV; a panel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary which, it is suggested, came from sV; and two panels with kneeling figures of Anne Harling’s first two husbands, from nIII in the chapel of St Anne.
The church was largely rebuilt during the fifteenth century. Of the earlier work that was retained, the tower below the parapet looks to be of c.1300, with cusped intersecting tracery in the west window and cusped Y-tracery in the bell openings. The top of a window with a trefoil can be seen on the inside of the south aisle over the door, suggesting that the wall dates from about the same time as the tower; the outline of another window seen behind the Harling tomb at the east end of this aisle may be of similar date. A reticulated window (sIII) and two sept-foil circular windows from an earlier clerestory (NI, NII) on the north side point to the original chancel’s having been built a few years after the tower and aisle, and the five-bay nave arcade and perhaps north aisle are probably of late fourteenth-century date, coeval with the wall-painting on the north aisle wall, the earlier parts of the screen around the Harling Chapel in the south aisle, and possibly parts of the Harling tomb associated with Sir John Harling, who was buried there c.1402–1403. 3 The tower is recorded as having been finished in 1450, and the south aisle must have been substantially complete by 1457, when the first chantry priest to the Harling chantry was appointed; its east window was made some time after February 1461. 4 The chapel of St Anne can be dated to c.1467–81, the clerestory to after 1481, and the east chancel window was glazed and probably built c.1491–98. The south porch was completed by Sir Thomas Lovell (d. 1524), according to a bede roll, but it could have been started by Anne, perhaps rather late in her life. 5
Most of the rebuilding of the church and its glazing can be associated with the figure of Anne Harling, the wealthy heiress who inherited the advowson in 1435. Anne was born in c.1426, the only child of Sir Robert Harling of East Harling and Jane Gonville, herself sole heiress of the family who had founded Gonville Hall in Cambridge and Rushworth College near East Harling. She lost her father in battle in France in 1435, and two years later her wardship was sold to another warrior, Sir John Fastolf, her father’s uncle by marriage. He married her off in 1438 to a third soldier, Sir William Chamberlain, at least fifteen years her senior. He spent much time fighting in France, but was back in England in 1447, when Anne probably came of age, and received a royal licence on 12 July that year to found the Harling chantry, which had been requested by Anne’s father in his will of 1435. The licence to appoint the first chantry priest was granted in 1457. 6
In 1462, Sir William Chamberlain died, having been made a Knight of the Garter in the previous year, and leaving Anne a childless widow. By and probably in 1467, she had married her second husband, Sir Robert Wingfield, the second son of Sir Robert Wingfield of Letheringham. The Wingfields had political ambitions, and her new husband went into exile with Edward IV in 1470. His loyalty was rewarded by his appointment to the office of Controller to the King’s Household from 1474 to 1481, in which latter year he died. Anne remained a widow for some ten years, but in 1491 married for the third time. Her husband, John, 5th Lord Scrope of Bolton, died in 1498, a few weeks before Anne. She was 72 or 73 and had no children.
It is not certain whether any of the medieval glass was destroyed at the time of the Reformation, and it is clear that much remained. Most of what survives is from the two chapels glazed by Anne Harling, whose successors to the advowson and manor of East Harling, the Lovell family, were still Catholics in the seventeenth century and may have protected the glass in these more private areas associated with the patron. 7 A description of the church written c.1570–90 describes glass in several windows, including the east chancel window and nIII in St Anne’s chapel. 8 Nelson says that in about 1642 the glass was removed from the church and stored in the old hall. 9 According to an unpublished history of East Harling the now lost churchwardens’ accounts for 1644 included a payment for £4. 10s. for work on the glass and other payments for the removal of the cross and roodloft, and for levelling the altar. 10 It would seem that the recusant Lovell family had kept as many as possible of the medieval furnishings of the church, but that with the onset of the Parliamentary iconoclastic campaign in the 1640s they had removed some of the glass for safe-keeping, though were unable to preserve some of the less moveable objects from destruction. 11 A further description written in 1667 mentions heraldic glass in the clerestory and some of the side windows, but not that recorded in the sixteenth century in I and nIII. 12 In sIV, from which the bulk of the surviving glass comes, only two donor panels were described, and it is significant that these are the only two main-light panels that do not survive from that window. It appears that the panels with religious scenes were rescued from Parliamentary iconoclasm, leaving the donor figures as being less offensive to Protestant sensibilities, but that at some subsequent stage these were lost, together with much other heraldic glass.
In 1707, the Lovell family finally disposed of their East Harling estate, and in 1716 a new rector was appointed by Thomas Wright, who had moved into the hall. 13 After collating Thomas Macro to the living in 1719, he chose Robert Wright in the following year, presumably a relation. 14 Blomefield and Parkin mention in 1736 that Charles Wright had lately discovered the glass now in the east chancel window in the hall, and had restored it to its original place. 15 As will be seen, Blomefield and Parkin were mistaken, in that the restored glass was mainly from sIV. Quarries now in sIV bear graffiti with the dates 1739 and 1771, but it is not known to which work they belong. By the early nineteenth century, and probably at the same time as the other glass was moved from the hall, the Lovell heraldry now mainly in sIV was placed in the tracery of the east window; it included more than the single squirrel badge now there. 16 At some stage in the twentieth century, the east window glazing was provided with rod-and-leaf borders and the tracery filled with foliage. It was removed for safe keeping during the Second World War by G. King & Son. Later, the fragments in sVI were added. 17
The earliest antiquarian description of the glass dates from the late sixteenth century and confines itself to heraldry and donor figures, although the latter are described in some unusual detail. 18 It is the only source for the mainly lost glazing of the east window of the chancel (of which one panel of fragments survives) and the donor figures in nIII in St Anne’s chapel (two of which and fragments of a third are extant in the east chancel window); it alone records both donor panels in sIV, the east window of the Harling chantry chapel. Two documents of 1667 in the Norfolk Record Office in the same hand are also important; one is the transcription of a bede roll detailing the contribution of Anne Harling to the fabric, and the other is another list of heraldry and donor figures, less full than Lansdowne 260, but including two drawings of lost donor figures in SII and sIV. 19 In the mid-eighteenth century, Blomefield and Parkin give a less full account of the heraldry and donors, but do provide engravings of depictions of Sir Robert Wingfield and Anne Harling, which they say were in the east chancel window, together with scenes from the life of Christ, having been lately placed there by Charles Wright Esq., who found them in the hall. 20 They erroneously add that this glass originally came from that window.
The Revd David Powell visited the church in the early nineteenth century and wrote a detailed description of the glass in the east window, in his opinion ‘perhaps the finest in the county’. He describes the same twenty main-light panels as are seen today, but in a different order and with a two-inch plain glass border around each panel instead of the present (modern) rod-and-leaf border. Another important difference was that the panel with a kneeling figure of Anne Harling illustrated by Blomefield and Parkin was still extant, although damaged; today, just a few pieces of heraldry from her cloak survive. His description is worth quoting in full: ‘A lady whose cloak has on it Wingfield & Bryvel quarterly & on its sinister side Harling and M(orti)mer Q(uarterl)y & escutcheon of G(onville) she kneels on a purple cushion praying at a desk on which a book open it is remarkable that she has round her neck a collar composè of roses Arg(en)t & stars with a lion pendant ex(a)ct like the collar round the neck of her two husbands the field is lozengy of baskets cloaks and quivers of feathers which is her own badge & that of Sir Robert Wingfield & Sir William Chamberlain. This interesting figure is a good deal damaged the face mostly gone round her head is a label 'S(a)nct(a) trinit(at)is d(omi)n(u)s dei Miserere nobis' under her 'Orate pro bono …' Powell also drew, in a tracery light, one of the two shields of the arms of Lovell in the Garter now in sIV, and wrote that the two shields and squirrels were in the east chancel window and were the original glass; the main-light glass came from elsewhere. 21 He was broadly correct in his second surmise, but the Lovell shields and squirrel badges were almost certainly from East Harling Hall. 22
In 1886, Westlake included a list of the panels in the east chancel window, 23 and in 1916 Nelson said that the glass was removed from the church to the hall in about 1642. 24 In 1926, Le Couteur was the first to point out the similarity between the glass at East Harling and St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, ascribing both to the same hand. 25 In his article of 1932 and book of 1950 Woodforde gave the first extended treatment of the glass, with a description of each panel and analysis of Blomefield and Parkins’s account, but did not use the antiquarian manuscript sources. 26 This meant that he thought that the donor panels in I 1a and 1e (Sir Robert Wingfield and Sir William Chamberlain) and the Infancy and Passion panels all came from the east window, and therefore dated from during Anne’s second marriage; he also appears to accept Blomefield and Parkins’s assertion that the Marian panels in the east window were originally from there. 27 Rickert correctly ascribed the glass at St Peter Mancroft and East Harling to the same workshop and dated the donor portraits at the latter to the end of the fifteenth century. 28 In 1973, the present writer assumed that the donor portraits at East Harling could ‘almost certainly’ be used to date the main series of narrative panels, dateable to 1463–80, and probably in the early 1470s. His 2006 CVMA volume on St Peter Mancroft attributed the life of Christ panels and donor panels at East Harling to the workshop of John Wighton of Norwich, dating the former to c.1465 – c.1480 and placing them originally in sIV, and dating the latter to 1467–80 and placing them originally in nIII. 29
The most important and earliest dateable glass given by Anne Harling is that now in the east chancel window depicting fifteen scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary from the Annunciation to the Assumption. 30 Fourteen of these panels can be shown to have come from the east window of the Lady Chapel (sIV), and the remaining one, it is suggested, from the adjacent sV.
The proposed reconstruction of the main lights of sIV is based on a number of criteria. The antiquarian sources describe only the donor panels from this window before the glass was removed from the church in the seventeenth century. A deductive approach based on the evidence of the glass and the layout of the church must therefore be adopted to justify the attribution of all but one of the fifteen narrative panels now in the east window of the chancel to sIV. The number and size of these panels gives a rough indication that only a small number of windows come into play, as most of the windows in the church are of three lights, and the political propaganda discerned in the four panels in row two of the reconstruction and other aspects of the composition suggest that a four-light window was definitely required. 31 This reduces the possibilities to the east chancel window, the north window of St Anne’s chapel, and the east and west windows of the south aisle. The east chancel window can easily be discounted, as the panels now placed there are too narrow, and have had to be extended on each side by a modern border. Moreover, the antiquarian record dates the glazing of the east window of the chancel to 1491 at the earliest, a date too late for this glass on the grounds of style and workshop. 32 Window nIII in St Anne’s chapel is not tall enough to have contained the glass, and is known to have held other glass. The west window of the aisle is an unlikely location for glass of this subject matter, which would almost certainly have been placed over an altar, and it is not difficult to reach the conclusion on grounds of size and iconography that this life of the Virgin Mary cycle was made for the east window (sIV) of the Harling chantry (also known as the Lady Chapel), at the east end of the south aisle.
One problem arises, however, as soon as an attempt is made to reconstruct the original glazing of that window. Measurements show that they were sixteen main-light panels in the window; two of these were the now-lost donor panels, and there are fifteen panels in the cycle to accommodate. The solution favoured by the present writer is that the cycle was spread over both windows of the Lady Chapel, sIV and sV, with the last panel of the surviving series, the Assumption, being placed in sV, the only other window in the chapel, possibly with other scenes concerning the Death, Funeral, and Assumption of the Virgin. At the very least, a panel of the Dormition and one of the Coronation of the Virgin would have been present in addition to the Assumption. This arrangement may have been influenced by the Toppes Window (nIII) at Norwich, St Peter Mancroft, made by the same workshop, and where, unusually, an Infancy sequence is combined with a sequence of the Death, Funeral, and Assumption. 33 This omits the Passion, which had already been depicted in a slightly earlier window in nVI. In the Harling chantry, the Infancy cycle could be combined with that of the Passion in sIV and the later scenes placed in the adjacent sV. The placing of this Marian series in both sIV and sV would have meant that it flanked the tomb of Sir Robert Harling, which stood in the south-east corner of the chapel. It may have been thought appropriate that the tomb should be adjacent to the depiction of the Death, Funeral, and Assumption of the Virgin. 34 It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between a cycle of the life of Christ and one of the Virgin Mary. Although the proposed reconstruction of sIV could be seen as an example of the former, when seen in conjunction with the distinctively Marian iconography suggested for sV as its continuation, and given its location within the Lady Chapel, the designation as a life of the Virgin Mary would seem to be preferable. Although Mary does not feature in the all of the Passion scenes, lay affective piety associated Mary very closely with these events. 35
The original disposition of the panels in the window can be dealt with fairly simply. Although fifteenth-century English narrative windows sometimes read from bottom to top and sometimes vice versa, the Toppes Window read from bottom to top, and an assumption that the East Harling window did the same is confirmed by other compositional features. Two now-lost donor panels are recorded for sIV, and these would undoubtedly have been in the bottom row. The reconstruction proposes that they were in the outer lights; this would have given a symmetrical arrangement. The first two panels of the Marian cycle, the Annunciation and Visitation, would then have been in 1b and 1c, and the central pairing of these similar scenes, each with two figures, gives a pleasing composition. Thus the bottom row of narrative panels is devoted to those occurring before Christ’s birth. The second row contains the four scenes relating to the birth of Christ: Nativity, Adoration of the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi and Presentation. Additional confirmation of the reconstruction of this register is provided by the political allusion which can be read across all four panels. 36 The third row contained four scenes leading up to and including the Crucifixion: Jesus in the Temple, the wedding feast at Cana, the Betrayal, and the Crucifixion. The top row has four scenes after the Crucifixion, culminating with the last biblical event of the Passion story, the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The remaining narrative panel, that of the Assumption, takes the story into the Apocryphal narrative, and was probably in the adjacent sV, as stated above.
It has been noted that in the Toppes Window at Norwich, St Peter Mancroft, two different colours of paint were used, one reddish-brown and the other grey. Starting with the Annunciation panel and working upwards through the main lights, two panels were painted in brown paint, then two in grey, and so on. 37 In the reconstructed sIV at East Harling, painted by the same workshop as that which produced the Toppes Window, a variant of this practice is observed. All the canopies were painted in grey paint, but in the rest of the glass, two panels in each register used grey and two brown paint. 38 A closer examination of the panels in workshop conditions may reveal further slight variations. For example, the side-shafting of the Resurrection panel appears to be in brown paint, but in the Visitation, the scrolls and adjacent pieces seem to be in grey, whereas the rest of the scene is painted in brown paint. These differences in paint may point to a division of labour in the painting of the panels, with the canopies being painted by a different painter from the narrative scenes. Alternatively, it could mean that the canopies were painted at a different time or apart from the rest of the panels.
The difference in practice from that adopted for the Toppes Window at Norwich, St Peter Mancroft is partly explicable by the fact that that window had no canopy tops. In the surviving panels of the reconstructed sIV, the only panel in which abrasion is used is that depicting the Presentation, where a rose is abraded and stained yellow on the ruby cope of Simeon. The rose has a particular significance in this context, and abrasion may have been used to draw attention to it. 39 Otherwise, the technique is very similar to that of the Toppes Window, except that a different repertoire of drapery patterns was used, and the most frequent of these, that on the robe of the Virgin Mary, has a relieved pattern, a technique not used for drapery by this workshop at St Peter Mancroft. 40
The evidence of the carved heraldic motifs in the spandrels of the south aisle suggests that the roof over the chantry chapel, which occupies two bays, was being built c.1452–54. 41 The tomb of Sir Robert Harling, which is between the two windows and was made c.1460 as part of the establishment of the chantry chapel, must be seen as forming an ensemble with them, and the donor figures of Sir Robert and his wife Joan Gonvile (assigned here to sIV 1d) and of Sir William Chamberlain and his wife Anne (assigned here to sIV 1a). The iconography of the glass provides an even firmer terminus post quem, as it contains a veiled reference to an event that took place on 2 February 1461, just before the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross. 42 The presence of the figure of Sir William suggests that it was in fact made after his death in 1462 and before Anne’s marriage to Sir Robert Wingfield in c.1467, probably nearer the former date, and a date range of 1462 – c.1465 is suggested. This date can also be applied to the Assumption panel attributed to sV, which is in the same style as the rest of the panels. 43
The glass assigned to sIV and sV is clearly by the same workshop as the Toppes Window and other glass at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, dated mostly c.1450 – c.1455. The later date of the East Harling windows is reflected in the style of the glass, which is rather more linear in drawing and whose drapery forms are more angular. The figures are squatter and less elegant, and the compositions more crowded, but this may be partly because of the decision to place them in canopied niches, leaving less room for the narrative. Another difference from the Mancroft glass of this date is the use of tituli, although it is not clear exactly how they fitted into the window. The East Harling Infancy cycle used several of the designs for the same series in the Toppes Window, skilfully adapting them as necessary for the smaller format and, possibly, the different donor. 44
The adaption of the Toppes Window designs is best seen the Adoration of the Magi panel. At Mancroft, this was extended over two panels leading to a successful and symmetrical composition based on strong V-shape. 45 The East Harling version is confined to a single panel, keeping the basic outlines of the design, but omitting all inessential detail such as the servants on horseback, the angels, the ox and ass, and the figure of Joseph. Many details of the figures are retained, such as the pose of the Christ Child and Mary’s hands and much of the figure of the kneeling magus (who at East Harling however holds the lid of the covered cup under the cup, as there is no room above). At East Harling, the other two magi have exchanged gifts and the body and bed of Mary are from the reversed design of the Adoration of the Shepherds panel.
Aspects of the design of the East Harling glass that may have been adapted to suit Anne Harling include the reversal of the Annunciation, as this would have placed the figure of the Virgin Mary closer to that of Anne Harling in the now-lost donor panel assigned to 1a; the iconography of the Nativity panel, which is based on the vision of St Bridget of Sweden, probably because Anne was a lay sister of the only Bridgettine monastery in England at Shene; and the change of Elizabeth’s costume from the veil and wimple at Mancroft to a pointed hood, possibly to reflect Anne’s choice of fashion. 46
The East Harling window is also characterized by a different range of ornament from that of the Toppes Window. The most striking example of this, noted above, is the relieved diaper pattern on the Virgin Mary’s robe, which does not appear at Mancroft. This largely replaces the rosette pattern on drapery, which is seen only once in the East Harling window. Instead of the simple chequered pavements used in the Toppes Window, here we have a quatrefoil pattern on each tile, and the sky is depicted by the non-naturalistic seaweed pattern, instead of the zigzag pattern of the Toppes Window. The slightly later St Peter Window at Mancroft, also by the Wighton workshop, reverts to seaweed diaper for sky however. Together with the increase in linearity seen in the drawing of faces, hair, and drapery, the use of these more detailed decorative motifs has the effect of making the panels appear more lively and vigorous in surface texture.
However, this liveliness in painting technique is counteracted by the design of the window. Its rather dumpy figures lack the range of expressive gesture in the Toppes Window and give a more static feel to the narrative aspects of the window. Some aspects of the design contribute to a balanced and unified composition. These include the matching pairs of figures in the Annunciation and Visitation panels; the use of a reversed cartoon for the figure of the Virgin in the Adoration of the Shepherds and Adoration of the Magi panels, as well as in the Ascension and Pentecost scenes; and the compositional symmetry between the panels of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple and the Crucifixion, in which both scenes have Jesus placed centrally and high up, surrounded by a group of figures including the Virgin Mary bottom left. However, the diachronic narrative flow, which in the Toppes Window is provided by double panels linked by gesturing angels, for example, and the overall synchronic unity given by the use of symbolism, are absent from the Harling glass. 47 The reason for this has partly to do with the changing personnel of the workshop involved, which will be discussed below.
The most obvious difference between the Toppes Window and East Harling is the use of canopied niches as settings for narrative panels in the latter. Whatever the reasons for this choice, the style of the canopies shows an increase in ornamental detail over the Toppes Window canopies similar to that mentioned above in the drapery and sky patterns used. The pendant bosses are much more ornate, and the side shafting has added crocketted finials and leaded windows, although part of this may be accounted for by the fact that the East Harling canopies are in main lights and therefore have more room for detail than the Toppes Window examples, which are in tracery lights. 48
It was presumed for a long time that the two donor figures of Sir William and Chamberlain and Sir Robert Wingfield now in I 1a and 1e belonged with the series ascribed above to sIV. However, there was no room for them in this window, and the account of the glass in Lansdowne 260 makes it clear that they were originally in nIII: ‘In the north chappell statews of Chamb(er)layne & his wife w(i)th p(re)tens to ye chevron p(aire)d[?] that of wingfeld & his wife as in the chaunsell windowe p(aire)d[?]’. 49 The 1667 description does not mention this glass, as it must have been removed to the hall by the Lovells, together with the narrative panels from sIV and sV, in about 1642. Blomefield and Parkin provide engravings of two of the panels after they had been placed in I, including one of Anne Harling which has since been destroyed. Together with the two surviving panels and other antiquarian sources, these engravings allow a reconstruction. 50
In the first light was a kneeling figure of Anne Harling facing right with the arms of Wingfield and her own arms on her mantle. Like her two husbands, she too may have worn the Yorkist collar of suns and roses with the pendant lion of March; the lion is clearly visible on her neck. A book to the right suggests that she knelt before a prie-dieu. Over her head was the first of four invocations in the window: 'Pat(er) de Celis De(u)s Miserere Nobis.' Beneath the panel was: 'Orate pro bono Statu Anne ux(or)is'. In the second light was the extant panel in I 1a of Sir Robert Wingfield kneeling in armour on a cushion. Over his head was 'fili redemptor mundi deus miserere nobis', and at the base 'Roberti Wingefeld militis ac …'. In light c was the extant panel of Sir William Chamberlain, but with the invocation over his head 'Spiritus sanctus dei miserere nobis'. Below was '… Chamberleyn militis'. In the fourth light was a second figure of Anne Harling, and over her was the invocation now seen over her first husband: 'Sancta Trinitas unus deus Miserere nobis'. Attached to this invocation is the Chamberlain badge of a quiver with feathers, and on her mantle were presumably her coat with that of Chamberlain. The inscription beneath is not recorded.
The choice of invocations to the Holy Trinity may have been a further sign, in addition to the Yorkist collars, of Sir Robert Wingfield’s Yorkist allegiance, as Edward IV had a devotion to the Trinity. 51 Although there would have been room above these figures for some additional iconography, there was probably not enough for a pictorial representation of the Holy Trinity. In the foils and eyelets are in situ baskets and quivers of feathers, as seen carved in the spandrels of the roof of the south aisle. The window is viewed through the low arch between the Chamberlain tomb, which separates the chapel from the chancel and its canopy, and the top of the window is only visible from nearby. Ornament or heraldry was probably used to fill the top register.
The glass is by the same workshop as the glass originally from sIV and sV and is very similar in style, with the same attention to details of ornament and linear drawing. It may be very close in date, as although it must have been made after Anne’s marriage to her second husband, Sir Robert Wingfield, this had taken place by 1467. He died in 1480, giving a possible date range of 1467–80, probably quite early in that period because of the stylistic similarity to the Harling Chapel glass.
The nine north clerestory windows retain parts of a series of demi-figures of angels in the tracery lights, and there is a figure from this sequence in sIV 1d. 52 This glass is related to that from sIV and nIII, particularly in the repertoire of design and costume used, but shows a marked development in style, the drawing being tighter and more awkward, and the modelling more hard-edged. A later date is confirmed by the heraldry and donor figures, which were recorded by antiquaries in c.1575 and in 1667. 53 These show that in the outer lights of NII there were kneeling figures of Sir Robert Wingfield and Anne Harling and in the central light their arms impaled. The next five windows had a comprehensive set of impaled shields representing fifteen Wingfield alliances, one to a light, which formed the family tree of that family from John Wingfield, who married Elizabeth Honeypot in the reign of Edward III, down to Sir Robert Wingfield’s contemporary relatives. 54 The last three windows of the north clerestory, NVIII–NX, had the shields of other families of local gentry. The latest identifiable marriage here is that of Robert Clere of Ormesby with Anne Hopton, which took place c.1478. 55 The conclusion to be drawn from of this series of mainly Wingfield marriages is that it was made and installed to commemorate the death of Sir Robert in 1480, and should thus be dated 1480 – c.1485. 56
No medieval glass survives in these windows, but a heraldic scheme similar to that in the north clerestory was recorded there by the antiquaries, but referring to Anne Harling’s family. It is difficult to reconcile the late sixteenth-century account in Lansdowne 260 with that of 1667 – when the latter was written, the glass was already in a less complete condition – but it is clear that as on the north side the easternmost window (SII) had two donor figures, those of Sir William Chamberlain and a female, presumably Anne, flanking the arms of Chamberlain quartering Leggat, and the remaining windows had three coats of arms each. This series was focused on the Harling family and its alliances and may have been contemporary with that formerly in the north clerestory, or slightly earlier.
Anne married for the third time in 1491, and between that date and her death in 1498 she appears to have glazed at least two further windows, although the interpretation of the antiquarian sources presents a few problems. Lansdowne 260 records ‘in the south chapel’ three shields of Chamberlain, Scrope, and Wingfield quartering Bovile, each impaling Harling quartering Mortimer, with Gonvile on an escutcheon of pretence, thus dating the window from which they came to after Anne’s marriage to Lord Scrope in 1491. The problem here is that the Assumption panel and possibly other glass of c.1462–67 have been ascribed to sV, the only other window in the Lady Chapel apart from the east window. However, the 1667 account gives a shield of Scrope quartering Tiptoft within the Garter in a south window of the church, with no mention of the chapel, and this may be the Scrope shield earlier recorded, with the two other shields having disappeared since the earlier description. It seems most likely that the ‘south chapel’ of Lansdowne 260 referred to the whole aisle as the Lady Chapel, and that the heraldic glass was in sVI, just west of the screen and the only other window on the south side of the aisle. 57 There are in the eyelets of this window four baskets, the Harling badge, found also on other glass and on the Harling tombs, but here in a different style consonant with a later date, post 1491. 58 Panel 1b of this window contains a number of fragments, including badges relating to the Harling, Chamberlain, and Lovell families, but which were came from another local parish church and were put in this window by G. King & Son, according to one of the church guides. 59
Probably the final window donated by Anne was the largest, the east chancel window. The Lansdowne manuscript records five donor panels in this five-light window, each with a man and his wife. The three central panels depicted Chamberlain, Scroop, and Wingfield, Anne’s three husbands, each kneeling beside her. The first light on the left had Anne’s parents, Sir Robert Harling and Jane Gonvile, and the fifth her grandparents, Sir John Ratcliff, second husband of her grandmother Cecily Mortimer. The presence of Lord Scrope dates the glass to 1491–98, when Anne and he both died. A panel of fragments from a Te Deum window is here ascribed to the east chancel window on grounds of style and iconography.
A final window associated with Anne but not glazed in her lifetime may have been the high east window over the chancel arch (EI), in which Lansdowne 260 records the arms of Anne’s three husbands, and that of Fyncham, presumably for Thomas Fyncham, one of the two executors of her will, along with her adopted nephew, Robert Wingfield. 60 This was probably installed c.1500.
Two of the three windows in the north aisle, nIV and nV, have a few remains of in situ medieval glazing. These cannot be linked with Anne Harling, who may have left this part of the church to be the concern of the parishioners. In 1489, John Scotte asked in his will for a new window to be made in the north aisle. 61
A fragmentary main-light figure of St Mary Magdalen in the east window cannot be definitely linked to Anne Harling or to a particular window, but the most probable original location was nII, perhaps just before sIV was made. A tentative link between the penitential aspects of the cult of Mary Magdalen and the similar nature of many of the items included in a book made for Anne c.1460, plus the location in the chancel, points to her patronage for this window as well. 62
A fragment of a maternity garment in the east window is presumably from a main-light Visitation panel and can also be attributed to Anne’s patronage.
Woodforde gave an interpretation of some fragments of French inscription in 3e, which sees them as parts of the title of Sir Richard Wingfield, K.G., when he was a ‘pursuivant servitor’ of Richard Widville, Lord Rivers, in 1455. There may have been a window commemorating him in the church, or the glass may have been brought from the hall along with the heraldic glass now in sIV. 63
The extant fifteenth-century glass, with the exception of a few fragments in sVI, is almost certainly all from the church. There are, however, some pieces of heraldic glass and ornament now in sIV that can be associated with the Lovell family and which almost certainly came from East Harling Hall. When Anne Harling died in 1498, her estate went to Sir Edmund Bedingfield and was soon purchased by Sir Thomas Lovell, K.G. 64 He died in 1524 and left the manor and advowson of East Harling to his nephew Francis Lovell, who moved there in 1526. Sir Thomas had adorned the gatehouse with a bronze portrait plaque of himself, now in Westminster Abbey and attributed to Torregiano. Sir Francis, as he soon became, installed heraldic glass in the hall, possibly adding to Lovell heraldry already there. 65 The shields included his own arms impaling those of Ashby, for his marriage to Anne Ashby of Harefield in Middlesex. The glass now in sIV, which appears to be associated with the Lovells, consists of two shields of Sir Thomas Lovell within the Garter, a closed crown such as was placed over the royal arms of Henry VIII, and a piece of Renaissance ornament. In addition the quarries in I 2a with wings and true lovers’ knots, which have been interpreted by the present writer as a Lovell rebus, can be linked to this heraldic glass. 66 During the period 1522–24, Sir Thomas had paid Crystofer Wykeman, glazier, of London, for some heraldic glass identical to that now at East Harling: ‘for vjxx small badgies, wynges, trewlofes, and squerelles, xvj great badgeys, viij armes in the Garter, for himself, iiij of the Kynge’s badgeis crowned, ij of the Kynge’s and Queen’s crowned’, and it is probable that some or all of this was for East Harling Hall. Other glass ordered from Wykeman was for his other properties at Halywell and Enfield and also the church at Enfield. The strip of Renaissance ornament in sIV 1a is of similar date but different workmanship. Sir Francis Lovell commissioned Holbein, probably in 1527, to paint his wife’s portrait, and the repertoire of ornament on the glass is very similar to that seen in work by this artist. It is possible that this piece is the only extant example in England of glass designed by Holbein during his time in England. 67
Four different painters or workshops appear to have been employed on the extant glass made for the church over five decades. The earliest may be that which did the main-light panel of St Mary Magdalen now in I 2a and the tracery-light panels of angels in I A5–6 and sIV 1a. The most important is that which made the original glazing of sIV and sV, which has long been associated with the workshop responsible for much of the glass at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, and which has been identified as the workshop of John Wighton. He himself played no direct part in the East Harling glass, as he died in 1458, although some of his designs may have been used posthumously. The main painter was probably John Mundeford, to whom the Toppes Window and other glass at Mancroft have been assigned.
The few surviving remains of the north clerestory glazing, dated here to c.1480–85, are the work of a third workshop, linked to the Wighton workshop, but almost certainly after executed after John Mundeford had ceased working; he died in 1480. 68 After his death, John Wighton II may have taken over the workshop, and this glass at Harling may have some of his work, although no other glass has yet been identified as his work. The panel of fragments from a Te Deum window, now in I 3a and assigned here to the glazing of the east window, may be from the workshop of William Heyward. In 1503, five years after Anne’s death, John Aylward, parson of East Harling since 1474, died. In his will, as Roger Greenwood has shown, he asked for a marble stone and brass to be ordered from William Heyward of Norwich. Heyward was the leading glazier in Norwich at this time, having become a freeman of the city in 1485, and later become the only other Norwich glazier apart from John Wighton to be made an alderman. 69 Evidence from his will makes clear his dual role as producer of both glass and brasses. Greenwood proposed that Heyward was responsible for the N3 series of brasses, which correspond in date range to his career (he died in 1506), and that there were strong stylistic links with the glass at Mancroft and the similar glass at East Harling. This glass, however, is too early for a link with Heyward, and is now attributed to the Wighton workshop.
However, the above-mentioned panel of fragments is here tentatively attributed to the Heyward workshop, the first glass it has been possible to identify as being perhaps by him. There are style connections with N3 brasses. The clearest example is with the brass of William de Grey and family at Merton of 1495, very close in date to the glass. 70 The slightly later patronage of Heyward by the parson of East Harling is another piece of circumstantial evidence pointing to the identity of the glazier, and it may be significant that one other N3 brass, that of Henry Spelman and wife at Narborough, 1496, portrays a close friend of Anne Harling. 71 As with the earlier glass from the east window of the Harling chantry, it appears that Anne again chose the leading Norwich glazier of the time to carry out her work.
As stated above, the Lovell heraldic glass brought into the church may have been painted by the otherwise unknown London glazier Crystofer Wykeman, and the strip of Renaissance ornament in sIV could even have been designed by Holbein.