The Chancel Windows - Cliffe History

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St. Helen’s Church

(A brief pen-portrait of the interior)
                                             

The Chancel Windows

The six windows on the North and South sides of the Chancel were referred to by the Reverend Lloyd in 1873 when he wrote “If some good Christian would present a new ‘decorated screen to the Chancel (cost about £85), and some good stained glass to the beautiful ‘decorated” windows on the North and South sides of the Chancel ….”.

The windows on the North side appear similar in design and colours of glass used, although there is a definite difference in the tracery of the stone work and some variation in the colour pattern.

The Reverend H. R. Lloyd “removed the common glass and iron stanchions from the six side windows in 1874 and replaced them with new bars and new glass, of 14th century pattern from Messrs. Powells Works at Whitefriars in London”. These windows were taken out and reglazed in 1954 (war damage).

The windows on the south side, whilst uniform in size, vary in content. The window nearest the Altar contains fragments of coloured glass which have been assembled to suggest a castle (Cooling?) But this is not so obvious on close inspection. These fragments came from the ‘find’ made in the ‘Bone-hole’ which the Reverend Lloyd

claimed he made “I was so fortunate as to find in a neglected corner of the Church, a heap of old stained glass, some of which, upon examination, had evidently been removed from the tracery of the Chancel windows”. Later on a Mr. G. H. Payn recorded that the ‘find’ was made by choir boys!!
When the roof was lowered in 1732 obviously the side windows in the Chancel suffered mutilation as well as the great East window. It seems a stroke of good fortune that some of the ‘debris’ was left inside the building where it appears to have remained undisturbed for well over a century. The middle window on the South side also has some coloured glass fragments assembled in the quarterfoil.

The window nearest the screen on the south side is more recent. This is an attractive 19th century window with the figures and subject quite clear, the incorporated text being the penultimate verse from the Bible (A.V.). The wording on the memorial plate reads:—
“This tablet and window were erected by the parishioners and friends to the glory of God and as a memorial to Emily Maud Leathes, second daughter of the Rector of this parish, who entered rest August 4 1889 aged 21”.
The brass plate below the window was re-fixed during the ‘big’ Spring Clean of April 1972. It had been carelessly left lying loose on the ledge where it was vulnerable to discolouration and possible theft.
 
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