Church Stained Glass

Please click on the accordian links to the various stained glass windows around Balsham Church.

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The Chancel East Window

East Window

East Window

 

 

The East Window

Archibald Nicholson and G.E.R. Smith designed the window in 1932 and Mr A.K. Nicholson printed the black capitals in the right hand corner.

The stonework of this window is early 14th century and the subject is our Lord seated in Majesty, receiving the worship of mankind. It is inscribed, ‘With Angels and Archangels and with all the company of Heaven we laud and magnify Thy Glorious Name.’ In the centre our Lord is seen enthroned and his crown has the initials I.H.S. below. He is wearing royal and sacerdotal vestments. In His left hand he supports a sceptre and the right hand is raised in blessing. From Him proceed rays of light – (the Light of the World) and on either side of Him stand the two great Archangels, Michael and Gabriel, with their appropriate emblems. Round the throne passing through the lights and traceries, are grouped the angels, and you will notice that the colouring of their wings forms the colours of the rainbow, and expresses the thought of the ‘Rainbow round the Throne.’

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel

East Window Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael

The figure of Archangel Michael – the winged warrior stands in grey armour. He holds a flaming sword in his right hand and a pair of scales in his left. Below him, standing together, are two angels with blue and green wings, this continues the rainbow around Christ.

 

Holy Spirit (Dove)

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

At the top of the frame to the stonework is a three-sided canopy and the whole forms a hood for the throne. Christ the Dove of the Holy Spirit descends against the rayed background.

Below the central figure will be seen the Sacrificial Lamb with Crucifix, gold and white halo and gold chalice on the Altar, with censing Angels, the procession of the Holy Spirit and the inscription ‘Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus.’ (Holy, Holy, Holy)

Angus Dei

Angus Dei

In the tracery lights, the further idea of universal worship is shown by the signs of the Zodiac, which symbolise the Heavenly Bodies.

The tracery lights against the stonework contain symbols in shades of blue, outlined in black relating to the Signs of the Zodiac and named on curving scrolls edged with black classical roman capitals.

Signs of the Zodiac

Gemini:           The Twins       Aquarius:         The Water Carrier

Cancer:            The Crab         Pisces:             The Fishes

Aries:               The Ram          Scorpio:           The Scorpion

Leo:                 The Lion          Libra:               The Balance

Virgo:              The Virgin       Capricorn:       The Goat

Sagittarius:      The Archer      Taurus: The Bull

In the top tracery the yellow shield is displaying the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity and in the two lower traceries the Alpha and Omega are in yellow and have a grey foliated stem. A blue circle surrounds the two Greek symbols. Two angels on either side have clasped hands and are looking towards the centre.

The other pieces of tracery contain the Coats of Arms of Charterhouse; Pembroke College, Cambridge; and Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School.

The coat of arms of Charterhouse London and Sutton’s Hospital has a scroll written in black roman capitals, inscribed with the motto Deo Danti Dedi’ (God having given, I have given). The Arms of Charterhouse are to commemorate the association of Thomas Sutton, who founded Charterhouse and was a benefactor of the Parish of Balsham.

The motto of Pembroke College, Cambridge is a figure of an ivory clad angel with furled golden wings. The Arms of Pembroke College are included to commemorate W.A. Prince who was a pensioner of the College 1866 – 1870.

A sword and a crown surmount the Coats of Arms of Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School; within these are two grey or green-crossed laurel branches tied with a ribbon. The Arms of the original Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School relate to the attendance there of W.A. Prince and T.A. Prince in 1858. They are derived from those of the Diocese of St. Albans in which the parish of Bishop’s Stortford is situated. Rhodes (the explorer) entered the school in 1861 and was a close friend of the Prince brothers.

In the lower lights are various personages connected with the parish in the past.

John de Drokensford & Henry Snaith

John de Drokensford & Henry Snaith

John de Drokensford 1298

John de Drokensford was a Rector of Balsham, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1307 and Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1308. John de Drokensford carries the arms of the Diocese of Wells and these commemorate his Bishopric in 1308. He is standing on a tiled base and carries an open book in his left hand and a crozier in his right hand. John de Drokensford is wearing a Bishop’s mitre and full-length ivory gown, under a rich blue cope, which is fringed yellow and green. His white and gold stole show scenes, which include St. Andrew and his cross. A long scroll band behind him bears his name and date J. D. D. 1298.

Thomas Sutton 1611

Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was Master of the Ordnance to Queen Elizabeth I and founder of the Charterhouse. He was a rich merchant and soldier, who defended Berwick against the Scottish invasions; he also owned rich coalmines in Durham. It is believed that he built a Tudor mansion on the site of Nine Chimneys; one wing of the house remains today. He bequeathed Balsham to his foundation Charterhouse. The Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse are still the Patrons of the benefice of Balsham. Thomas Sutton is depicted as a bearded figure wearing a full-length blue robe with blue and gold-banded long sleeves. He has a deep white neck ruff and cuffs under a long red sleeveless coat with brown trimmings. In his right hand is a scroll and in his left hand a closed book.

East Window bot left

Thomas Sutton and Prior John Houghton

Henry de Snaith 1363

Henry de Snaith was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Rector of Balsham. He is depicted as a bareheaded figure, wearing a full-length ivory gown under a deep green cope and jewelled stole. He holds a book which is secured with a heavy clasp.

Prior John Houghton 1535

Prior John Houghton firmly opposed King Henry VIII’s break with Rome and his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. He was hanged, drawn and quartered, then as a warning to other dissenters his arm was nailed to the Great Door of London Charterhouse. Prior Houghton is depicted as a kneeling figure in prayer; he is wearing a grey monastic hooded gown and yellow strap sandals.

Saint Etheldra and John de Sleford

Saint Etheldra and John de Sleford

St. Etheldreda (Audrey)

Saint Etheldreda was an Abbess and her Feast Day is on June 23rd. She died in 679. Her emblems are a book and budding staff. Saint Etheldreda is the Patron Saint of Cambridge University and was the founder of Ely Cathedral in 673. Saint Etheldreda was widowed after three years of marriage; it was rumoured that the marriage was never consummated. Her second marriage was annulled and she took the veil. She is said to have died of a throat disease, which she regarded as a punishment for vanity in her youth, through wearing heavy & valuable necklets. From this comes the word tawdry (St. Audrey). In remembrance of her, the women of Ely wore simple lace necklets bought at the local fairs. St. Etheldreda is depicted with short hair and is wearing a gold crown over a skullcap. She is a kneeling figure with her hands clasped in prayer and is holding a book in her left hand and a crozier in her right.

John Blodwell & Hugh de Balsham

John Blodwell & Hugh de Balsham

Hugh de Balsham 1286

Hugh de Balsham was Bishop of Ely and founder of Peterhouse in 1284. His name encircles the shield of the Arms of Peterhouse. Hugh de Balsham is depicted as a Bishop wearing a mitre, green gloves and green chasuble with a long ivory fringe. He is carrying a crozier in his right hand.

 John de Sleford 1401

John de Sleford (c1330-1401) was a ‘King’s Clerk’ – a man in Holy Orders, but primarily a Civil Servant. He began his career in the household of Philippa of Hainault (Queen to King Edward III). On the merger of her household with that of the King, John de Sleford was transferred to Wardrobe Administration and became Keeper of the Privy Wardrobe of the Tower in 1365. In 1371, he became Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, which dealt with bulk supplies.

John de Sleford became Rector of Balsham c.1360. Such King’s Clerks were seldom in their parishes, where the pastoral work was often carried out by substitutes. In the case of John de Sleford there is evidence of his local activity both before and after he lost his office as Keeper of the Wardrobe. In 1370 he held land at Linton as well as the lease of Oxcroft Farm. His Memorial Brass records that he ‘built the church’ and donated the stalls.

John de Sleford was closely identified with the ‘old regime’ of King Edward III. After the death of Queen Philippa, the King became influenced by his mistress, Alice Perrers. At the same time, a rival establishment gathered about the King’s grandson (son of the Black Prince), who later became King Richard II.

On the death of King Edward III in June 1377, it was John de Sleford’s duty to superintend the Royal burial. Following the King’s death, John de Sleford lost his Royal appointment as Keeper of the Wardrobe and retired to Balsham.

In 1384, John de Sleford financed the rebuilding of the Nave with its Clerestory windows and the two side aisles. John de Sleford is depicted as a kneeling figure facing the centre, with short hair, skullcap and his hands clasped in prayer. He has a decorated maniple in gold, on a black and white background, which depicts Saint Peter, Saint Margaret and Saint Wilfrid (7th century Archbishop of York).

East Window bottom right

East Window bottom right

John Blodwell 1462

John Blodwell (c.1380s – 1462) became Dean of St. Asaph and Rector of Balsham from c.1430. John Blodwell was born in Shropshire, the illegitimate son of a priest. Educated at Bologna, he was fluent in five languages; became a lawyer in Wales, worked in Rome and was involved in the legal and diplomatic affairs of the church. John Blodwell was involved in diplomatic correspondence and attended the Council of Constance (1414-18), where he was associated with the future Pope Martin V. King Henry V also employed him for diplomatic missions.

His arrival in the Diocese of Ely is probably connected with another Welsh lawyer, Philip Morgan, who was Bishop of Ely 1426-1435. During c.1440, John Blodwell lost his sight and from this time he began to relinquish his clerical appointments. He died in Balsham 1462.

John Blodwell is depicted as a standing figure looking right. He is wearing a skullcap; a long silver grey gown; a deep blue figured cloak with a brown hood; a cream and gold collar and a pictorial stole, which has pictures of Saint Paul, Saint Asaph, Saint Catherine, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Margaret. He holds a book which is secured with a heavy clasp.

In the lowest set of lights are various views:

Balsham Church

Balsham Church

 

The view of Holy Trinity from the south is inscribed ‘With Angels and Archangels and Holy Trinity Balsham.’

Charterhouse

Charterhouse

The view of Charterhouse School shows three boys playing cricket in the foreground. A schoolmaster is standing by a seat on which a lady is sitting and they are watching the game. The view is inscribed ‘With all the Company of Heaven.’ On the right hand side is an angel with green wings who is holding a scroll, which is inscribed ‘Charterhouse.’ On the left hand side are a group of trees.

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

The view of Ely Cathedral includes trees and the sky.

N.B. The Arms of Thomas Sutton dated 1870 were transferred from this part of the window in 1932 to the south aisle south wall window in the Nave.

Peterhouse

Peterhouse

The view of Peterhouse includes a forecourt, seen against a blue sky. It is inscribed ‘We laud and magnify thy glorious name.’ On the left hand side is an angel with green wings who is holding a scroll, which is inscribed ‘Ely.’ On the right hand side is an angel with red wings who is holding a scroll, which is inscribed ‘Peterhouse.’

N.B. In the window is a man with a wheelbarrow, try and find him! This man is William Jolley, who was sexton, gravedigger and a bell ringer at Holy Trinity Church. He was born on the 4th August 1886 and died in November 1993, aged 107.

On the outer edge in classical roman capitals is written, ‘The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God And The Firmament Showeth His Handiwork.’ At the base of the centre light is a memorial inscription, which includes the coat of arms of the Prince family.

‘The window was erected in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty two by direction of William Alfred and Anne Ellen Prince the last two survivors of the children of the late Thomas Prince of the parish of Balsham.’

The Prince family tombstones are in the Churchyard at the east end. They were notable as a family of Surgeons and Apothecaries.

The Annunciation

DSCF0025cut

Archangel Gabriel

This window is dated late 19th century.

To the left of the window is:

The Archangel Gabriel. The Archangel Gabriel revealed God’s will to Mary. His Feast Day is on the 24th March and his Emblem is the Lily. He is The Patron Saint of Postmen. Gabriel was the traditional messenger of God in the Bible. His name in Hebrew means ‘Mighty man of God’. He appeared to Daniel to interpret his visions, to Zacharias to foretell the birth of John the Baptist and to Mary to announce that she would have a son called Jesus. This window depicts the winged figure of the Archangel Gabriel with fair curly hair and a green halo. He is standing on a black and white chequered floor. One bare foot is visible; he wears a full-length robe, a fringed silver grey tunic with yellow waist girdle and a full mustard cloak. His right hand is raised in blessing and his left hand holds a brown scroll.

The Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary

To the right of the window is

The Virgin Mary (Mother of Jesus). Traditionally Mary was thought to be the daughter of Anne and Joachim, who were members of the tribe of Judah. The events of Mary’s life are mentioned in

the Gospels. They include The Annunciation, The Purification and The Crucifixion. Mary is depicted wearing a full-length red robe and blue cloak, which is lined in silver grey. Her hands are clasped over her bosom and she wears a ring on her left hand.

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘Hail thou that art favoured. Be it unto me according to thy word. To the glory of God and to the memory of Anne the beloved wife of Thomas Prince of this parish who was born June 12 1806 and died February 25th 1878. Also to their three children Albert Algernon born March 5th 1840 died March 24th 1842. Thomas Albert born August 23rd 1844 died March 9th 1866 and John Walter born March 17th 1848 died August 24th 1859. Thy will be done.’

Saint Luke & Saint Bartholomew

Saint Luke & Saint Bartholomew

Saint Luke & Saint Bartholomew

This window was installed in 1926 and was designed by Christopher Webb. (Booklet about Christopher Webb)

To the left of the window is:

St Luke

St Luke

Saint Luke (an Apostle and Physician). Luke was possibly the son of a Greek freedman of Rome. He was closely associated with Saint Paul and was author of the third Gospel and The Acts Of The Apostles.

His Feast Day is on the 18th of October and his Emblems are a Book and a Winged Bull. He is the Patron Saint of Doctors, Goldsmiths and Sculptors. Saint Luke is depicted with brown hair and a beard; he has a gold halo, blue cape and a gold gown over a purple cassock. In his left hand he holds an open book and in his right hand he holds a quill, dipped in an inkpot. The crest of the medical profession is included in the window to commemorate members of the Prince family who were surgeons.

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘To the glory of God and in memory of Thomas Prince of this parish Surgeon born 4th October 1809 died 20th August 1890.’

Saint Bartholomew

Saint Bartholomew

To the right of the window is:

Saint Bartholomew (one of the twelve apostles)

Saint Bartholomew is said to have been flayed alive in Armenia and is hence regarded as the Patron Saint of Tanners. His Feast Day is on the 24th August. Saint Bartholomew is depicted with brown hair, a gold halo and he has a beard. He is wearing a purple cloak over an orange robe. In his right hand is a knife and in his left hand a closed book.

 

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘This window was erected AD1926 by William Alfred and Anne Ellen Prince the only surviving children of the above Thomas Prince and Anne his wife.’

Saint Nicholas & Saint Felix

Saint Nicholas & Saint Felix

Designed by Mr Archibald Nicholson and Mr Christopher Webb who completed this work in 1932. It is notable for its beautiful drawing.

To the left of the window is:

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas

St. Nicholas Bishop of Myra and Lycia, died in 461. In 1087, Saint Nicholas’ supposed remains were taken to Bari, southeast Italy. His Feast Day is on the 6th of December and

his Emblems are Three Balls and Three Children in a Tub. He is the Patron Saint of Children, Captives and Sailors and the countries of Greece, Russia and Ireland. Legend says he restored to life three rich youths who had been murdered, cut up and concealed in a salting tub by a thievish innkeeper (or butcher), in whose house they had taken lodging. St. Nicholas is depicted wearing a Bishop’s mitre and a red and gold patterned cloak with a jewelled border. A crucifix, jewel and gold tassel adorn his purple gown. In his left hand he holds a crozier and his right hand is lowered to touch one of the hands of the three blonde haired children, who are standing in a wooden tub in the foreground.

Boys in a tub

Boys in a tub

To the right of the window is:

St Felix

St. Felix who died c.648 was Bishop of Dunwich and Procurator of Judaea, A.D. 52-56. After converting the exiled East Anglian Prince Sigbert to Christianity, St. Felix successfully preached the Gospel to the heathen of East Anglia. St. Felix is depicted wearing a radiant cloche head–dress, with blue cope, several fringed layered gowns with a crucifix, fringed stole and white robe. He is gazing upwards. In his left hand he holds a crozier and in the other a lighted taper. An apothecary’s emblem is featured in the window to reflect the Prince family profession.

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘To the glory of God and in memory of William Alfred Prince who died 8th September 1928 and Anne Ellen Prince who died 4th June 1931.’

Moving from the Chancel to the Nave turn to your left to the:-

South Aisle East Window

South Aisle East Window

South Aisle East Window

The South East Window’s stonework is of the late 14th century. The glass is highly coloured and patterned throughout with gold vines and sprays. Each light has a twisting stem of vines, leaves and tendrils. Other lights are deep blue with reddish brown stems of vines, these twist up the whole length of the light. A passion flower head is superimposed centrally.

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘I looked and behold a door was open in heaven and I heard a voice of many Angels round about the throne saying worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power.’ ‘In affectionate memory of Edward Wollaston M.A. for 33 years Rector and Elizabeth Ramsden his wife and Agnes Cornthwaite their daughter. This was erected in 1866.’

Turning to your right to the:

Thomas Sutton Coat of Arms

Thomas Sutton arms

Thomas Sutton arms

This Coat of Arms (dated 1870) was originally part of the East Window. In 1932 the East Window was redesigned and the coat of arms was transferred to the South Wall.

See previous section on Thomas Sutton for more information.

Moving to your left walking past the Altars to the North Aisle are two further windows:

Christ Blessing: Salvator Mundi

North Aisle North Wall

Christ’s Blessing: Salvator Mundi

Christ’s Blessing: Salvator Mundi

(Saviour of the World). In this window Christ wears a tri-radiant adorned halo, which is white and red on a blue background. He wears a white robe bordered with gold, which reveals a red sleeve. His face is white and he is looking ¾ west. His right hand is raised in blessing and He holds an orb in his left hand as the symbol of sovereignty. In the blue painted background stands a golden chalice, or grail, which is a symbol of Christian Faith.

At the top of the window either side of the main glass are two scenes of eastern buildings.Christ’s Blessing

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘The Haylock family of West Wratting. In memory of John Haylock who died 19.9.1810’

Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph (The Carpenter) of Nazareth

This window was designed by Joseph Nuttgens of North Dean, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire under a faculty dated 27.1.1953.

Saint Joseph (Head)

Saint Joseph (Head)

Joseph the Carpenter was a descendant of David and husband of The Virgin Mary. At the time of the Annunciation he was betrothed to Mary. His Feast Day is on the 19th of March and he is the Patron Saint of Carpenters.

At the top of the glass are three eastern scenes. Joseph is depicted as a dark bearded figure with a red halo. He wears a magenta gown and a silver lined dark green cloak with a clasp. His mustard yellow tunic has a red waist sash. To complete his apparel he wears mustard stockings and grey shoes which have a T strap and tie bow. His carpenter’s bag containing tools is suspended from a stave, which is clasped by both hands and rests on his right shoulder. The carpenter’s tools depicted in the glass are pincers and mallet, setsquare and scriber

St Joseph (feet)

St Joseph (feet)

 Hammer & Pincers

Hammer & Pincers

In between Joseph’s legs is an eastern scene with an arched white building and light green bushes. At the base of the window the Coats of Arms are of Thomas Sutton and Charterhouse.

The following inscription appears in the window:

‘The parishioners and friends dedicated this window in the aisle 31.1.1954 at a cost of £250. It commemorates H.J.E. Burrell, Priest and his mother and sister.’

‘Canon Burrell Rector 1910 -1934 beautified the church with carpentry.’

‘In memory of Herbert John Edwin Burrell Priest, Rector of Balsham 1910 to 1934. Who died May 22nd 1949 aged 82 and his mother Louisa and his sister Ethel.’

A small piece of medieval glass

There is also a small piece of medieval glass in the north-east window of the north ailse:

Medieval Fragment

Medieval Fragment

King peering through arch

King peering through arch

More mediaval fragments

More mediaval fragments

A pretty view is from the Rood Screen staircase

Rood Screen staircase

Rood Screen staircase

Stained Glass Church Guide

The words were taken from the description of the Stained Glass by Anthea Robinson published in 2004

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