Stained Glass

Rediscovered Medieval Stained Glass Window

Received an article dated 1922, shown below, when a medieval stained glass window was discovered when cement and building rubble was removed that covered a window between the Vestry and Lawrence Chapel. Francis Eeles, renowned stained glass expert, identified the window as made between 1320-1340, the oldest window in London apart from Westminster Abbey. The window was sent to the V&A Museum with a plan to eventually restore it to Chelsea Old Church.


If the window returned from V&A before WWII, when the Church was bombed, it may have been destroyed, however enquiries were made to V&A to see whether they have records of the window's fate, yes, they returned it in 1922.

So probably destroyed in 1941.

But research at British and Kensington Library and stained glass experts revealed that the Chelsea Society had paid for transferring the window to the crypt at St Lukes' in 1939 for safekeeping. An original search at Chelsea Old Church had not found the window but a more 'in depth' study had found the window sandwiched inside a broken 19th C window in the Tower clock room. The window was now in 4 main parts, pictured below, plus many smaller pieces of glass.

The top two were Maurice Drake restorations, the third the 1320 medieval window which is still curved having been folded within another longer window. The fourth the remains of the wording added in 1922.

The inscription at the bottom says:

To the glory of God and in memory of the unknown saints who for centuries have worshipped Him in this place. This window was uncovered on St Bartholomew day 1922 was recreated 1923.

The 14th century glass of this window was originally in the western light of the eastern most window in the north wall of the Lawrence Chapel that was blocked up with the Colvile monument around 1632 but monument later moved and window covered but then discovered behind layers of plaster in August 1922.

All of the window is now at Canterbury Cathedral stained glass studio for conservation advice and awaits the raising of funds to complete the project by displaying it in it's original window in the Lawrence Chapel.

17thC Windows

The Cartouche in the north window of the Lawrence Chapel is German or Flemish of the 16th century.

The panels in the north and south windows at the westernmost end of the Nave are of 17th century Flemish stained glass which are described as; The 17th century Flemish Glass in this window and window opposite was presented by Matilda Jane Widow of Grosvenor Thomas in 1925.

The latin inscription literally translates as

Jonathan goes of his own accord to meet the enemy, whom light from above casts down strengthless.

Some of the letters are obscured by lead used to repair cracks so not a definitive translation.