Medieval Stained Glass Window

This window is the most historically interesting in the church as it consists of fragments of medieval glass

This unusual window near the North door was installed in its present form in 1948 and commemorates the Rev. G.H.B. Coleridge and his wife.

It contains fragments of medieval stained glass collected by the Rev’d James Dallaway, a noted English antiquary, and vicar of this church between 1804 and 1834.

The other stained glass windows in the church depict biblical scenes more typical of the Victorian era.

The window is divided into sections, known as tracery lights. The two main lights each feature four circles that line up vertically. Each circle contains fragments of medieval glass arranged in a way that creates a random patchwork effect.

The fragments of human figures, birds and animals, inscriptions, fabrics, and other less discernible objects, are depicted in vivid colours of red, blue, gold, green, wine and purple. They all contribute to the beautiful appearance of this window, which is otherwise mostly plain glass with a swirled effect. Standing in front of the window, you may just be able to pick out the delicate peach-coloured glass that frames the circles and the glass surrounds of the window.

The window was not always located here. After the Rev James Dallaway collected the pieces of medieval glass in France, he placed them in a window, which was originally located at the East End of the chancel.  In his book, Etchings of Views in the Vicarage of Letherhead, he notes how he “liked the effect of the warmth produced by the light coming through rich colours of the stained glass onto the whitewashed walls of the church.”

However, in 1863 that window was replaced by a memorial window for the Henderson family of Randalls Park. It appears that the Dallaway glass was then moved to the South transept before being replaced by yet another memorial window to Bishop Utterton. So, the glass lay forgotten in crates above the vestry until it was rediscovered in 1939 by the then vicar, the Rev G H B Coleridge (great-grandson of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

According to the Vicar’s letter in the August Parish Magazine of 1939, he called in an expert from the Victoria and Albert Museum to examine the glass. As well as medieval glass, there were two panels of English glass dating from the 1800s.

In 1946 the panels showing Death on a Pale Horse and Saul visiting the Witch of Endor were donated to the V&A, while the medieval glass was retained by the church and assembled into a window. This was dedicated to the Rev’d Coleridge and his wife. The inscription across the base of both windows therefore reads:

THIS ANCIENT GLASS COLLECTED BY A FORMER VICAR HAS BEEN / REASSEMBLED IN MEMORY OF  GERARD HARTLEY BUCHANAN / COLERIDGE : VICAR : OF THIS PARISH : FROM 1926 TO 1944 AND OF / HILDA AUGUSTA HIS WIFE : BY THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS

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