Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain

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Norfolk: Norwich, Parish Church of St Andrew

O.S. TG 232087

The second largest parish church in Norwich after St Peter Mancroft, St Andrew looks down from a raised position onto the Dominican church and its preaching yard. 1 The parish was wealthy in the late Middle Ages and was home to several men who served as mayor, some of whom gave windows to the church. 2 Of the previous building on this site, only the reset frieze of shields beneath the east chancel window survives. The patron here and at St Peter Mancroft was the College of St Mary in the Fields, and a decision to at least start rebuilding seems to have been taken at about the same time as the completion the main work of rebuilding at St Peter. 3 The west tower was under construction by 1478 and completed by c.1496. 4 In 1499, a bequest of £6. 13s. 4d, to making a window was made by John Reynold, mason. 5 Another legacy for a window in that year was given if the parish decided to rebuild the church. 6 In the following year, a royal licence was granted for rebuilding the chancel, necessary because it was thought desirable to extend it by one foot, thus obtruding onto the royal highway. 7 Several large bequests for building followed, and an inscription made in 1547 on the west wall of the south aisle records that the rebuilding began in 1506. 8 Glazing soon followed, judging by two bequests for it in 1507. 9 Moreover in 1508 Robert Gardener left £10 to glazing the north side ‘yet building’ and in 1509 a further bequest of £10 was made by William Boucher to glaze a window. 10 In 1518, 10 marks were given to finishing the church, indicating that work was drawing to a close; thereafter legacies were for furnishings. 11 The resulting church has a west tower, five-bay arcade with large four-light side aisle windows and eleven clerestory windows to north and south. The easternmost bay of the arcade forms the choir with chancel chapels and there is a single-bay presbytery, as at the Norwich churches of St Peter Mancroft and St Stephen. The north and south porches are continuations of the aisles and open internally eastward. A vestry was built in modern times in the south west corner. The East Chancel Window (I)

The eighteenth-century Norwich antiquarian John Kirkpatrick lived near the church and wrote a lengthy description of it and its glass in about 1712. 12 He noted that the outer lights of the five-light east chancel window contained the Sacrifice of Isaac on the left and the Brazen Serpent on the right. He almost certainly correctly surmised that the missing glass in the central lights had been a Crucifixion with the two thieves. 13 The glass in the outer lights was still there in 1847, and again in 1850 when Charles Winston noted it. 14 Winston added that there was no canopy, and that the tracery held figures of angels in white glass with yellow stain; the remains of these are now in sVII 2b. In about 1865, when the present east chancel window by Hardman was made, the medieval glass there and in other windows was removed and put into store and tracings made of the glass. 15 In about 1881, it was placed in the north and south clerestory windows, and then in about 1914 moved to the three central windows of the north aisle. 16 After the Second World War, it was installed in its present location by G. King & Son of Norwich. 17 Watercolour copies of the typological scenes from the east window showing the glass in a more complete condition were made when the glass was put into store; these are now in the G. A. King Collection, although they are not by him. King published an article on the glass in 1914 which includes photographs of these drawings. 18

Kirkpatrick saw the arms of Goldwell in the east window, ascribing them to James Goldwell, Bishop of Norwich 1472–1499. 19 They were still there in the nineteenth century when Winter drew them, surrounded by four gold wells, the bishop’s rebus. 20 The latter placed them in light a, over the depiction of the Sacrifice of Isaac. The reason for the presence of these arms is probably connected with the bishop’s brother Nicholas; he was Dean of the College of St Mary in the Fields, patron of the church, from 1498 until 1502, and when he died in 1505, he asked in his will for his house and lands in Barnham Broom, Norfolk, to be sold and the proceeds used for the ‘wele’ of the soul of his brother, who had died in 1498. 21 It would seem very probable that his executors decided to use some of the money to provide a memorial window in the chancel at St Andrew. Nicholas had asked to be buried in the College of St Mary, and St Andrew’s chancel was being built as the property at Barnham Broom was being sold, providing a timely and appropriate location for such a memorial. Blomefield and Parkin say that Bishop Goldwell had been a benefactor to the church. 22 A heraldic pomegranate is in sVII 2b, and was recorded in the tracery of the east window. 23 This was the badge of Catherine of Aragon, who married Henry VIII in 1509, the earliest possible date for the window, whose style suggests a date range of c.1510 – c.1520. Nicholas Goldwell’s successor as Dean of the College of St Mary and the person responsible for overseeing the building and decoration of the chancel of St Andrew was Robert Honeywood, a fellow and benefactor of All Souls College, Oxford, canon of Windsor, Chancellor and Archdeacon of Norwich, and also a co-executor of Bishop Goldwell. 24

With the help of the extant glass, some comparative material and the above antiquarian records, it is possible to reconstruct much of the original iconography of the east window. The three central lights had an extended Crucifixion, with the cross occupying the central light; the two thieves were probably in lights b and d. Although no glass from these lights survives or was recorded, we can get some idea of what the lights may have contained by a comparison with the east window of St Stephen, Norwich, made in 1533, probably by the same workshop as that which executed the east window here, as the same designs appear to have been used. Only fragmentary remains of the lower part of the main lights at St Stephen’s are extant; the central panel with the cross has completely disappeared, but enough is left to show that in light b were several soldiers standing or on horseback, looking up to the right towards the now crucified Christ. In light d were corresponding figures looking up to the left, but below them was the unusual scene of Joseph of Arimathea buying the clean linen cloth in which Jesus was to be wrapped. A man with a ladder and rope is also seen. It is also possible to fill in the gaps to a certain extent in the extant glass from lights a and e. The glass in light a at St Stephen’s is less complete than that at St Andrew’s at the top, but at the bottom has the scene missing at St Andrew’s of Abraham arriving at the foot of the mountain with two men, Isaac and a horse. In light e at St Stephen’s the fragments of a man caught by a serpent are much more complete than those in sV 1c at St Andrew’s.

We know from Winter’s drawing that an angel held a shield with the arms and rebus of Bishop Goldwell in the head of light a; similar figures may have been in the other heads of the lights. Winston tells us that the angels now in sVIII 2b were in the tracery lights of the east window, and King reveals that the pomegranate still seen in the angels’ panel was in one of the side tracery lights, as well as a Tudor rose. The tracings made in the mid-nineteenth century included, according to King, some fragmentary blackletter inscriptions, which may have acted as tituli to the outer main-light scenes. 25 He gives translations of the text made for him by Revd W. Busby; these read more like paraphrases, and the originals were probable direct-speech texts from the Old Testament, one relating to the Sacrifice of Isaac, the other to the Raising of the Brazen Serpent. 26

South Chancel Window (sII)

Kirkpatrick recorded an imperfect inscription in this window: ‘fili(orum)| qui dudum| fuerunt Joh(ann)is | Rede …| legit …’. This was probably for John Rede, a merchant and alderman for Middle Wymer Ward, where St Andrew was, 1488–1502, and mayor in 1496. 27

The Aisle Windows

Winston admired the eyelet fillings in the side windows of the aisles, still to be seen there, except in nV and nVI. He thought that they were dated c.1520, but close examination reveals that they are of the nineteenth-century. Two years after Winston’s visit in 1850, the Norwich firm of J. & J. King, glaziers, whose workshop was on St Andrew’s Plain opposite the church, gave the set of Evangelist Symbols now in sVII and sVIII, to glaze the tracery lights of the east window of the south aisle, sIII. This gift may have been a memorial to James King, senior, the founder of the firm, who had died in 1851. That the gift was for the tracery lights only may be significant, as this may indicate that the tracery lights of the side windows of the aisles had already been glazed by the same firm, which had moved to its nearby premises by 1839 and by the mid-1840s was producing stained glass. What Winston may have seen was the new eyelet glazing, and the lack of main-light glazing may have led him to think that it was the unusually well-preserved remains of some sixteenth-century windows. Haward correctly thought that the eyelets were nineteenth-century, but perhaps mistakenly also saw them as evidence for lost whole windows of that date. 28 Some doubt, however, remains concerning the earlier nineteenth-century work at St Andrew’s, and it is possible that the present eyelets of the side windows were copied from work extant at the time, as they are convincing from the point of view of design and technique.

In the easternmost window of the north aisle (nIV) Kirkpatrick saw the arms of Layer quartering Bullivant, still now in the same window. 29 Thomas Layer, who was buried here in 1614, was another grocer, and was sheriff in 1567 and mayor in 1576, 1585 and 1595. Kirkpatrick lived in his old house. Below the shield, he saw the portrait and merchant’s mark of Robert Gardner. Gardner was mayor in 1490, 1499 and 1506. In his will, proved on August 8 1508, is written: ‘Item I bequeth to the Glasynge of the North side of the said churche of Seynt Andrew yet building x li and I will that my name be wretyn upon every windowe suche as shalbe made at my coste’. He also provided for the seating in the new church, the new rood-loft and gave £6 for a pair of gilt chalices. 30 Gardner lived in Curson’s Place, originally built by the Appleyard family on the north side of the church and today used as the Bridewell Museum. He was a mercer and had a long career in civic service, holding several different offices, including those of alderman for Berstreet from 1480 to 1508, and mayor in 1490, 1499 and 1506. 31 His portrait and name are still to be seen in nIV, but this panel is problematic. Kirkpatrick saw in this window ‘a man in a scarlet gown furred kneeling & before him this mark [merchant’s mark] and these words viz Robertus/Gardner/Alder/& maior/hujus civi/tatis como/dissime’. 32 Blomefield and Parkin described the image of Robert Gardner as ‘very perfect’ in a north aisle window. 33 However, the present panel does not quite match Kirkpatrick’s careful description. The Latin inscription varies and is grammatically dubious, and the merchant’s mark is slightly different. The panel in fact appears to be heavily restored; this probably happened in the first half of the nineteenth century using Kirkpatrick’s description and fragments of the original. 34 However, Kirkpatrick’s version of the inscription can probably be relied upon and provides the interesting information that already in 1508 or thereabouts the city of Norwich was being referred to as ‘comodissime’, or most pleasant or amenable. 35 Gardner certainly seems to have paid for at least two other north aisle windows; Kirkpatrick saw part of the donor inscription in one and his merchant’s mark in another. This was also seen by Blomefield and Parkin in several places on the timbers of the roof. 36 Not all the north aisle windows were paid for by Gardner, however (his £10 legacy would not have been enough), as Kirkpatrick saw in the second window from the east another kneeling figure in an alderman’s scarlet gown with a woman kneeling opposite, a merchant’s mark, and part of a name, which according to Ewing identified the man as John Randolph, sheriff in 1499 and alderman of St Giles 1503–22. 37 In the east window of the south aisle, already obscured by the vestry in Kirkpatrick’s time, the latter saw what he thought was a shield of Calthorpe impaling Bulleyn, with a man kneeling wearing the same arms. His surmise was probably correct, as Kemp saw this shield in an unidentified location in the church in the late sixteenth century, ascribing it to Sir Philip Calthorpe and his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Bulleyn. 38 . His account needs to be slightly amended, as the figures were of Sir Philip Calthorpe, MP for Norfolk in 1491 and Sheriff for Norfolk and Suffolk 1499–1500, and his wife Amy, daughter of Sir William Bulleyn of Blickling. Amy was buried here in 1501. 39

The Clerestory Windows

Kirkpatrick saw the merchant’s mark of Robert Aylmer, mayor in 1481 and 1492, in each of the south clerestory windows. Aylmer was a grocer, councillor for Middle Wymer ward in which the church stands, and later alderman for East Wymer, sheriff and mayor in 1481 and 1492; he died in 1493. 40 His widow Elizabeth left 10 marks to finishing the church and her best gilt chalice in 1518. 41 His mark is still at the top of some of the south clerestory windows. 42 It is not known what the contents of the main lights of the south clerestory were

Fortunately, some of the main-light glazing on the north side is extant. The Dance of Death panel, depicting Death leading a bishop away, now in the south aisle, was in the north clerestory, part of a series of what could have been thirty-three panels across eleven windows, showing Death leading off men of all degree, from an emperor, pope, cardinal and bishop to a carpenter and other tradesmen, as Kirkpatrick noted. 43 This series is unique in English medieval glass, and must have provided an impressive display and a continual memento mori to the members of the congregation. In each window was the merchant’s mark of Nicholas Colich and the grocers’ arms, some of which are now in window sVII. 44 Colich was a grocer, was mayor in 1497, and in 1502 was buried in the church, to which he gave 50 marks towards the rebuilding; perhaps his bequest was spent on the Dance of Death. 45 Whereas the merchant’s marks of Robert Aylmer in the south clerestory are on panels of pear-drop form in the top tracery opening, those of Colich and also the grocers’ arms are on shields.

Between these two shields in each window there were a number of other shields, mainly religious, some of which survive. Kirkpatrick recorded them as follows: NII, King’s Lynn; NIII, St Catherine (extant); NIV, the Trinity; NV, missing; NVI, St George; the See of Canterbury (extant); NVII, St Andrew (extant); NVIII, the Lamb of God; NIX, St Michael (extant), NX, Hamelden; 46 NXI, missing.

The iconographic source for a Dance of Death series at this date is likely to have been a printed source. Several such series were produced by the French publishers Guy Marchant and Anthoine Vérard from 1485 onwards, and the figure of the bishop here is very similar to that in a hand-coloured version by Vérard, which has thirty pairs of figures. A more accessible model, however, would have been a printed primer, which sometimes included this iconography. 47 The fact that the clerestory has eleven three-light windows on each side, providing space for thirty-three panels, and that the Dance of Death has between thirty and thirty-six scenes in the printed versions may indicate that Nicholas Goldwell, who became Dean of the College of St Mary in the Fields in 1498, the year of his brother’s death, saw to it that the architecture of the nave, built from 1500 onwards, was made to fit the proposed glazing. 48 In that year, there was an outbreak of the plague in London, which may have influenced Nicholas’s wish to remind the parishioner’s of the ever-present threat of sudden death and the need to be prepared for it. The Dance of Death also reminded the wealthy parishioners of St Andrew’s church, some of whom were goldsmiths, of the futility of worldly wealth and the equality of all in the face of death. The Dominican friary opposite the church, which was overlooked by these windows, cannot be ruled out as a possible source of influence for this unusual choice of iconography.


King 2004, p. 136. Return to context
See below. Return to context
This occurred in about 1479; King 2006, p. lxiii. For the patronage, see Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 300. Return to context
Pevsner and Wilson 1997, p. 231. Return to context
Lambeth, Reg. Morton II, 44. Return to context
Will of Anabel Kyng; NRO, NCC, Popy 94. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 305. Return to context
1502, Nicholas Colich, 50 marks for rebuilding (NRO, NCC, Popy 8); 1502, Robert Belton, £7 for rebuilding (PRO, Prob 11/13); 1502, William Nobbs, 5 marks to new making the church (NRO, NCC, Popy 177); 1502, Margaret Dilham, 8 marks to new building (NRO, NCC, Popy 184); 1503, Thomas Hood, 10 marks to rebuilding (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304); 1503, Robert Pynchemorte, bequest to reparation (NRO, NCC, Popy 19); 1503, Alice Jeckis, bequest to building (NRO, NCC, Popy 33); 1503, John Balles, 5 marks to rebuilding (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304); 1503, John Withnale, 20 marks to rebuilding (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304); 1503, Clare Withnale, 10 marks to rebuilding (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304); 1504, Agnes Est, £20 to rebuilding church (Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304); £1 16s. 8d., Katherine Bewfield, to building church (NRO, NCC, Ryxe 87). Return to context
John Petirson left 40s. to the ‘bylding and perfurmacion’ of the church and asked that ‘there be glased a lowe wyndowe’; PRO, prob/11/15. William Potter left money to glaze a window and £5 for the emending of the church; PRO, prob/11/15. Return to context
See below for details of Gardener’s bequest. Boucher’s will is at NRO, PCC, Spyltimber 218. Return to context
1518, will of Elizabeth Thursby, widow of Robert Aylmer; Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304. Return to context
NRO, Kirkpatrick MS, p. 39. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin (1805–10, IV, p. 313) say of the glass: ‘In the east window is the story of the serpent lifted up in the wilderness, and the stoning the man that gathered sticks on the Lord’s day.’ Return to context
Parker 1847, p. 161; BL, Add. MS 33848, f. 24v. Return to context
King 1914, p. 284; Haward 1984, gazetteer. Return to context
King 1914, pp. 284–85. There is a glazier’s graffito dated 1881 in the Sacrifice of Isaac panel in sV. Return to context
Haward 1984, gazetteer. Return to context
King 1914. Return to context
NRO, Kirkpatrick MS, p. 39. Return to context
Winter 1887–88 (unpaginated). Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 171. For Bishop Goldwell, see R. C. E. Hayes, ‘Goldwell. James (d.1499)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, 2008 ( 10926), accessed 16 June 2008. For the will of Nicholas Goldwell, see PRO, prob/11/14. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 313. Return to context
King 1914, p. 289. He records that two of the smaller side openings of the east chancel window were intact, one having the crowned Tudor rose, the other the pomegranate. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 171. Return to context
King 1914, p. 290. Return to context
The first is given by King as: ‘Do not sacrifice him, and lay not thine hand upon the lad’. This was probably part of Genesis XXII, 12: ‘Dixit ei non extendas manum tuam super puerum neque illi quicquam’ (Authorised Version: ‘Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him’). The second appears as: ‘It is read in the xx. Chap. of Numbers, that when the Lord would deliver the people from the serpents who had bitten them (he commanded Moses) to make a serpent and whoever looked upon it (was healed); this was probably originally from Numbers 21:8: et locutus est Dominus ad eum fac serpentem et pone eum pro signo percussus aspexerit eum vivet’ (Authorised Version: And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live). Return to context
Hawes 1986, p. 128. Return to context
BL, Add. MS 33848, ff.24v–25r; Haward 1984, gazetteer and pp. 197–98. Return to context
NRO, Kirkpatrick MS, p. 39. Blomefield and Parkin (1805–10, IV, p. 311) saw this heraldry there and Layer’s donor figure, but interpreted them as being for William Layer, mayor in 1537. Mackerell also noted this heraldry in about 1723; BL, Add. MS 12525, f.18r. The glass was presumably made after Kemp’s record was made c.1575, as he makes no mention of it. Return to context
NRO, NCC, Spyltymber 93-95. Return to context
Hawes 1989, p. 65. Return to context
NRO, Kirkpatrick MS, p. 39. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, pp. 306–307. Return to context
Ewing (1852, pp. 192–93) briefly describes the donor panel, giving part of the inscription more or less as now, rather than as given by Kirkpatrick, so the copy/restoration must have been done before that date. It may be further evidence that the firm of J. & J. King copied extant medieval glass in the 1840s (see above); the merchant’s mark and initials in sVI D1 and D2 may also be examples of this. In 1845, the firm restored the medieval glass at Attleborough Church; Haward 1984, p. 198. Return to context
In her introduction to the 2004 volume on medieval Norwich, Carole Rawcliffe has discussed early comments on the quality of life in Norwich and sees the city from the later Middle Ages onwards as consciously projecting an image of a clean and disciplined place and a model for others to follow. She quotes the members of the ruling council in 1559 as saying that ‘from tyme owte of mynde’ there had been ‘a comely and decent order used within this cittye’, a view reflected in the 1558 prospect of Norwich by William Cunningham. Visitors from outside did not always agree, but the image remained a topos that recurs up to modern times, with the current slogan of ‘a fine city’; Rawcliffe and Wilson 2004, pp. xix–xxvi. Robert Gardner’s memorial inscription pushes back this comfortable view of Norwich by its elite a number of decades. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, pp. 306–307. Return to context
Ewing 1852, p. 193; Hawes 1986, p. 127. Return to context
BL, MS Harley 901, f.30r. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, VI, p. 518. Return to context
Ewing 1852, p. 193; Hawes 1986, p. 8. Return to context
Blomefield and Parkin 1805–10, IV, p. 304. Return to context
In D1 in each of SVII–SIX. Return to context
Kirkpatrick mistakenly says that the windows had four lights. See also below. Return to context
One found its way into the private collection of Philip Nelson and thence to Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, NML (no. 67); CVMA inv. no. 017804; Nelson 1913, pp. 35, 152. Another (or perhaps the same) was seen by Ewing in the east chancel window in 1852 (Ewing 1852, p. 193). Return to context
Ewing 1852, p. 193; Hawes 1986, p. 44 (under ‘Cowlych’). He also left money to paint a new legend, 70 oz. of silver for a new holy water stoup, and 10 marks for a vestment. Return to context
Also recorded by Kemp, as Argent fretty azure on each joint of the fret a fleur-de-lis or; BL, Harley MS 901, f.30r. Return to context
See Duffy 1992, pl. 111. Return to context
For Vérard, see Hammerstein 1980, pp. 174–75 and figs 49–53. Return to context
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