Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Pilfered glass from Manchester and elsewhere


Messingham, Lincolnshire, originally uploaded by Vitrearum.

This lovely little figure is in the east window of Messingham church in Lincolnshire, where it sits among a whole host of fascinating fragments of medieval stained glass. When I first saw this fifteenth century piece I thought what an interesting and unusual bit of iconography it is, Our Lord holding the nails of the Crucifixion. However, on closer inspection you realise that the head doesn't actually belong the body at all and that the hands and body are not those of Christ. Penny Hebgin-Barnes suggests that the body is that of an angel holding a pair of pliers, part of a lost passion cycle. All the glass in this panel was acquired in 1820 by Henry Bayley, rector of Messingham and originally came from the Collegiate Church in Manchester, now Manchester Cathedral. Hebgin-Barnes records that a 'very rich' window of the passion of Christ was extant in Manchester in the seventeenth century and suggests that the Messingham glass was part of it.

Bayley also pilfered (sorry acquired) glass from other churches. Including a couple of glorious canopies from Kettlethorpe in Lincolnshire, one of which incorporates Christ Harrowing Hell, with Our Lord pulling Adam and Eve by their hands from the mouth of Hell. These glorious canopies date from the mid fourteenth century.

Messingham, Lincolnshire

Further reading

P. Hebgin-Barnes, The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire (Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, Summary Catalogue 3, 1996), pp. 181-184.

For those of you who wonder what has happened to the Inglesham post, never fear it should hit the blogosphere tomorrow.

2 comments:

Roger Mortimer said...

If it had stayed in the Collegiate Church the Luftwaffe, or failing them the IRA, would almost certainly have destroyed it.

Allan Barton said...

Indeed so, there is not a scrap of medieval glass left in Manchester Cathedral.