A thatched church with an eleventh-century round tower with a fifteenth-century octagonal top, Norman north door to the nave, fourteenth-century chancel, and a south aisle and south arcade of 1863. 1 The church was badly damaged by lightening in 1459, so the perpendicular additions, including some of the windows, post-date this event. 2 The only medieval glass in the church is in the three-light nave window nV, where the tracery lights contain figures of angels holding scrolls with fragmentary texts, and the main lights a very restored three-figure Crucifixion with donor panels beneath.
The tracery glazing can be shown to belong to this window. Only the four central lights retain their medieval glazing, and the texts held by angels can, with the help of Thomas Martin’s description, be shown to come from the antiphon to St Edmund, king and martyr, sung at vespers on the eve of the feast of St Edmund, king and martyr (20 November) in the Sarum Breviary:
Ave rex gentis Anglorum
miles Regis angelorum
O Edmunde flos martyrum
velut rosa vel lilium
funde preces ad Dominum
pro salute fidelium. 3
The angels now in nV A1, A2 and A6 retain all or parts of the antiphon text; that in A5 has lost the inscription and could therefore have been in A3.
Martin also records the now lost original main-light glazing in this window: ‘Upon the first north window being divided into 3 panes. The first broken. The second has St Christopher carrying our Saviour over a river and under him sets an ancient King (Edmd) crowned, with an arrow in his right, and a book in his left hand. On the third pane these 3 coats one under the other. [partially tricked drawings of three coats of arms; see below] Under these a man kneeling short hair. Red surcoat furrd at ye neck and flaps yellow. Blue hosen small dagger and belt silver colour’d a woman behind him much broken. | Braunche & Johanne | Out of the mans mouth this scroll 'Et dep(re)cam(ur) ut a morte sede eruam(ur)'. 4
The descriptions by Kemp (the author of Lansdowne 260) and Mackerell provide the heraldry in light a.
The incomplete names below the donor figures almost certainly refer to Robert Braunche of Stody and Hunworth, and Jane, or Joan, his wife. Robert’s will was proved in 1503. The shields of arms in light a were those of Taverham, twice, and Nyche impaling Taverham; in light c were Winter impaling Taverham, Braunche impaling Winter, and Braunche impaling Calthorpe. The relationships symbolized by the six shields can be expressed in a genealogical tree showing how the families of Braunche and Taverham were linked by the marriage of John Braunche and Margery Winter, the daughter of Edmund Winter and Alice de Taverham. In light a, the two Taverham coats were probably for Baldric de Taverham and his son William (father and brother respectively of Alice), and the impaled coat denoted the first marriage of Alice, to Walter Nyche. In light c, the first shield was for Alice’s parents, the second for Robert Braunche’s parents (John Braunche and Margery Winter, daughter of Edmund and Alice), and the third was for his brother Edmund, who married Anne Calthorpe (daughter of Richard Calthorpe of Cockthorpe and his wife Margaret).
Robert presented to Taverham Church in 1478, but presumably inherited the advowson from his mother (d. 1447), or possibly from his brother. The main subject of the window, St Edmund, suggests a commemoration of Robert’s brother Edmund Braunche, whose date of death is unknown, and also of his maternal grandfather, Edmund Winter, whose will was dated 1447. The style of the glass points to a date of c.1460–70, linking it to a programme of repair and redecoration after the 1459 lightning strike. The window was definitely a Braunch donation, as it was powdered with branches. 5
The figure of St Christopher, set over that of St Edmund, was probably there because of the position of the window, almost opposite the south door, the most common one for the ubiquitous figure of this saint.
The Crucifixion and donors now in the main lights of nV were recorded in the eighteenth century in the east window of the south aisle, sIV. 6 Although it may well have been removed from there at the time of the rebuilding of the aisle in 1861–63, it may not have been placed in its present position, for which it has been skilfully adapted, until some years later, for a drawing by G. A. King of the figure of Christ, dated 1898, appears to be a preliminary sketch for the restoration. 7 The glass as it stands is mainly the work of the Norwich glaziers J. & J. King, one of which was G. A. King. Norris’s and Martin’s notes enable us to verify some features and correct others. 8 The borders with suns and crowned initials – 'M', 'IHS' and 'I' – are correct, as is the general disposition of the figures, but the central donor should be dressed in scarlet, and the three parts of the invocation should read 'In tua passio', 'sit salus', and 'et proteccio'. Martin provides most of the names that were beneath the donors: 'Joh(ann)is …'; 'Petr(us) Goos rector isti(us) ecc(les)ie', and '…es Landon'. Peter Goos was confirmed to a mediety of the rectorship of Taverham in 1453, and had been replaced by 1488. 9 The last figure was almost certainly John Landon, a witness with Peter Goos to a Taverham will in 1471. 10 Landon was also an executor to the will of John Otyr of Taverham in 1466, and Otyr could thus have been the donor in light a. 11 This window was also presumably made after the 1459 damage to the church and probably dates from c.1460 – c.1470.
Several other windows in the church had painted glass, all now lost. In the west window were two shields, the first of Delapole quartering Burghersh of Ewelme, borne by William Delapole (d. 1450), Duke of Suffolk, and the second was that of Braunche. 12 Below these was part of an inscription 'fecit fieri'. In nII or nIII were figures of St Peter (in a blue garment with a golden book, pastoral staff, and silver chain) and a king (with red robe, blue mantle, gold crown, and a golden sceptre in each hand). One wonders whether this was not in fact St Edmund, carrying a sceptre in one hand and an arrow in the other, in which case the glass was probably in nII, a common location for imagery relating to the dedication of the church. In nIV in the nave was a female donor figure with several daughters. Above in the upper part of the main lights or tracery were three roundels with the bust of God the Father, 'IHS' and 'MR'. There was also what Martin describes as a ‘Great A revers’d’; this was a crowned initial from the border, and may have been ‘K’ rather than ‘A’. Below was the inscription 'Orate: pro a(n)i(m)abus ……on et Katerine: ux[oris eius]'. Mackerell saw two shields in this window bearing the coat of the family of Molton, and the inscription may have been for members of this family, although there is no known connection of anyone of that name with Taverham. 13
In the first south window of the south aisle were three shields of arms: Aylmer impaling Brampton, a defective coat attributed by Kemp to Woods, and Burston. Norris says that the first coat is reversed and belonged to Thomas Brampton of Brampton, Esq., and Olive his wife, daughter of Roger Aylmer of Tatenton (Tattingstone?) in Suffolk, and that the said Thomas flourished in the 1460s. This would correspond with the date of the other glass here. 14 Martin also saw several crowned T’s and A’s in this window. 15
As mentioned above, the main-lights and possibly the tracery lights of nV were restored by J. & J. King of Norwich c.1898, and by G. King & Son in 1974. 16 The latter changed the order of the tracery lights in row A to restore the correct reading of the antiphon text.