A large church built for Remigius de Hethersett, rector from 1319 to 1359, with west tower, nave, chancel north and south aisles and south porch. The latter was rebuilt in 1873 and the side windows of the north and south aisle chapels and possibly the clerestory are late Perpendicular in style. 1 A north vestry was added in 1886 and the nave roof renewed in 1872. 2 The splendid tomb of Lord Morley, d. 1435, against the north chancel wall was not finished until the 1460s. 3 Blomefield and Parkin recorded in the east window of the Trinity Chapel at the end of the north aisle two shields of arms, one for Lord Morley, lord of the manor, and the other, an unidentified coat argent on a chevron gules between three lions heads erased gules three bezants. There was also a fragmentary inscription: 'Thys Wyndow ys y mad ……….. Hengham ……..', which the authors suggest was 'Thys Windowe ys ye Mayden cost of Hengham'. 4 They mention a tradition that the chapel and window were made by the maidens of that town. In 1479 there was a bequest to glaze windows. 5
No original medieval glass survives, but the east chancel window is filled with German sixteenth-century glass given to the church by Lord Wodehouse of Kimberley in 1813. 6 The stonework of the tracery was altered to accommodate the glass and a little additional new glass painted by Yarington of Norwich. 7 This is the most important and impressive of the several collections of foreign glass in Norfolk and is by far the most aesthetically and iconographically satisfying of arrangements of such glass. The six outer lights of the seven-light window contain four large scenes, each extending over three lights and together forming a chronological Passion series which is read in an anti-clockwise direction starting from the top left. The scenes depict the Crucifixion, the Deposition, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ and are clearly from the same window. Subsidiary episodes are also seen in the background of two of the panel. In that of the Deposition is that of Christ being carried away for burial and in that of the Resurrection are Christ’s appearances to the Three Marys, St Thomas and St Peter. The centre light has a figure of St Anne carrying the Virgin Mary and Child, over which is an Apostle with a T-square, probably St Thomas. The top row of tracery lights has an Apostle flanked by two donors, that on the left being a reversed copy by Yarington. The two outer tracery lights have kneeling angels which once carried arms, of which the part of the mantling is still visible.
The angels, together with another very similar pair now in Kimberley church, and several other panels in a number of other buildings in Norfolk, London, Edinburgh and the USA, have been linked by Brigitte Wolff-Wintrich to the glazing of the church of the former Cistercian monastery of Mariawald in the Rhineland and the remaining Hingham glass can now be accorded the same provenance. 8 Although many panels from the cloister glazing at Mariawald have been identified, the glazing of the church has until recently received less attention. Wolff-Wintrich has brought together several panels from a number of locations which can be shown with varying degrees of certainty to come from the church, their identification being facilitated by a number of documentary sources which list the donors of the windows. Most of the glass found hitherto consists of figures of donors with accompanying saints. The only narrative glass included was part of a Last Judgement scene identified in 1904 at Norwich, St Stephen, and the depiction of the Holy Hunt in King’s College, which was tentatively ascribed to Mariawald by Wolff-Wintrich. 9 The addition to the corpus of the four large Passion scenes at Hingham enables some and possible all of the Rhenish glass in the chapel of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to be included, and the combination of these attributions with those made by Wolff-Wintrich and others allows a substantial reconstruction of the glazing programme to be made, leading to some important aspects of the patronage of the glass. 10
Apart from the link made by Wolff-Wintrich between the Mariawald glazing, the angels at Kimberley and those at Hingham, the feature of the Hingham glass which most obviously provides evidence for its provenance is the kneeling donor figure in I F2. He faces to dexter and wears full armour with heraldic surcoat and a collar. The former bears the arms of Jülich and Berg, with Ravensburg and the latter is the Order of St Hubertus. The identification of this figure requires some historical background. On St Hubert’s day, 3 November 1444, Gerhard II, Duke of Jülich and Berg, gained a great victory over the superior forces of Arnold von Egmont near Linnich, not far from Jülich. As a thank-offering the Duke founded the knightly Order of St Hubertus, also known as the Order of the Horn, from the pairs of hunting horns on the collar of the Order. His son Wilhelm III eagerly promoted the Order and wrote a set of statutes for it in 1476, dying without male issue in 1511. 11 In 1480 the Cistercian monastery of Mariawald was founded and after 1492 under Abbot Johann von Köln a stone church was built. 12 The windows of the choir were given by noble patrons in 1505 and 1506, the east window being the gift of Duke Wilhelm III, nII, of his wife Sibilla and sII of his daughter Maria. 13 As the Hingham donor is on the sinister side, he may not be the donor, but the founder of the Order, Wilhelm’s father Gerhard, but this is not certain and it could also be that Wilhelm is represented here. Wolff-Wintrich identified a panel in the Victoria and Albert Museum as being the arms of Jülich and Berg from the bottom register of window I at Mariawald and the angels at Kimberley as the supporters. 14 The angel supporters in I E1 and E2 at Hingham are therefore almost certainly from the same position in either nII or sII.
The measurements of the large Passion scenes can also be adduced to support the Mariawald provenance. The glass as acquired by Lord Wodehouse did not fit the Hingham east window and required some skilful adjustment by the glazier Yarington to adapt it to its present position. The main lights of the Hingham east window are 0.60m wide, but careful examination of the German glass reveals that three of the four main scenes, the Lamentation, Resurrection and Ascension, were from narrower lights and have been widened by the addition of strips of new glass. If this new glass was removed, the original panels would measure approximately 0.53m wide. The Crucifixion panels show no sign of alteration in this way, and can be presumed to have had originally their present width of 0.60m. The width of the main lights of the windows in the church at Mariawald varied: those in the east window were 0.60m wide, in the west window 0.48m wide and in the other windows of the choir and nave 0.53m. 15 This would suggest that the Crucifixion scene was in the axis window, measurements thus confirming the normal liturgical position of this scene over the high altar. The other three Passion scenes would have followed chronologically in windows sII–sIV.
The church was built against the monastic range with only one north window, the northern apsis window, nII. Windows I, sII and sIV, and sV and sVI were also in the presbytery. 16 It is proposed here that the Hingham glass formed part of the original glazing of the windows I, sII–sVI, dated to 1505–6. Four different main-light registers seem to have been involved. Of the four large scenes, the first three have a trefoil head on each light, suggesting that they were at the top of the main lights. It is possible, perhaps probable, that a fifth Passion scene was in window nII. An Ecce Homo, now in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, may have come from this position to the left of the Crucifixion. Other glass in the chapel can be firmly ascribed to Mariawald, including main-light scenes of similar dimensions to the Ecce Homo and to those at Hingham; the Ecce Homo is moreover the only one of the Passion scenes which are possibly from Mariawald which precedes the Crucifixion from the axis window chronologically. However, the poor condition of the paint on this panel makes stylistic comparison very difficult and the attribution remains doubtful. 17 Beneath the main Passion scenes at Mariawald it is suggested that there was a row of standing saints, of which three survive in Hingham. Two are apostles, and further figures from this series are extant elsewhere. 18 The other is a fine figure of St Anne holding the Virgin and Child. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and this panel would have been almost certainly in the second row from the top in the axis window, perhaps accompanied by other Marian figures. The third row down would have held donor figures and saints, including the Hingham donor. It has been shown that much of the Mariawald glass was made by the same workshop as that which made the four splendid large north nave aisle windows in Cologne Cathedral, although some of the new attributions are rather different in style. 19 One of the windows there, nXXIV, has a rather similar arrangement as that suggested here, with large narrative scenes at the top and tall standing saints next from the top, but two rows of heraldry at the bottom and no donor figures. 20
The two apostles at Hingham were presumably part of a series which may have been concluded in the side windows of the choir, placed over the donors with attendant saints which Wolff-Wintrich records there. These saints included St Hubert, St Anthony, St Cornelius and St Quirinus, known in Germany as the Four Holy Marshals. St Hubert was the patron saint of hunting, and the Marshal saints were chosen because of their links with various animals and with hunting. The hunting theme, chosen for its connection with the Order of St Hubert, continued with the scene of the Holy Hunt, in which Gabriel as a huntsman blowing a horn chases the unicorn to the lap of the Virgin, while holding four hounds on a leash, labelled as personifications of the Four Virtues. It is suggested that this scene was in sVII, the first nave window from the east, and the rest of the nave glazing continued the Marian theme underpinned by Cistercian iconography including the figures of St Bernard and St Benedict. The Hubertus Order was founded in honour of the Holy Trinity, the Five Holy Wounds and the Holy Marshall St Hubert. As well depicting St Hubert and his fellow Marshall Saints, if the choir glazing did include as suggested here five large Passion scenes it can also be seen to reflect the dedication to the Five Wounds through its choice of five scenes which focus on his suffering and his wounds. With the exception of the iconography relating to St Hubert and the Order, the whole scheme can be seen as an extension of the iconographic programme of the west window of c.1394 of the Cistercian Abbey of Altenberg near Cologne, given by Duke Wilhelm I von Berg and his wife Anna von der Pfalz-Bayern. 21