- Discovering St Edmund
- Conference: Norwich and the Medieval Parish Church, c. 900-2107
- British Society of Master Glass Painters Conference: Touring Leicester
- Contemporary Glass Society Lecture: ‘Southwark Cathedral’s Stained Glass Artists’
Discovering St Edmund
Images of St Edmund (d. AD 869), king and martyr, survive in a number of English medieval stained glass windows, particularly in the eastern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. In early May it was announced that a voluntary charity, The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, intends to try and ‘put bones if not flesh’ on these images by excavating some tennis courts built over a graveyard of the former Benedictine Abbey in the hope of finding the saint’s lost remains (relics). It would be a ‘miracle’ if they did so. [fig.1]
Before the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, St Edmund’s shrine at Bury St Edmund (Suffolk) was one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in England. It was destroyed during the Reformation after which, according to local legend, his body was placed in an iron chest and buried by monks somewhere in the precincts of the Abbey.
St Edmund was an Anglo-Saxon king of East Anglia. In AD 869 he was executed by Viking raiders after refusing to renounce his Christian beliefs. According to the Passio Sancti Eadmundi written by Abbo of Fleury c. 985-987, he was tied to a tree and shot with arrows (sagittation) until he resembled ‘a prickly hedgehog or a thistle fretted with spines’. He was then beheaded and his head flung into brambles. When his followers searched for his body, they heard the head crying, ‘Here, Here’. It was guarded by a wolf who had been dissuaded from his natural proclivity to eat the head by virtue of the king’s sanctity. After the discovery his head and body were miraculously reunited. His attributes in art include arrows and a wolf.
St Edmund was a particular favourite of English kings and was regarded as the patron saint of England until he was supplanted by St George.
Good images of the saint in stained glass can be seen at Saxlingham Nethergate (Norfolk), Long Melford (Suffolk), and Edworth (Beds). (Fig. 2)
Bale A (Ed.), St Edmund King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint, York Medieval Press, 2009. See Review Vidimus 31
Pinner, R., The Cult of St Edmund in Medieval East Anglia, The Boydell Press, 2015.
Conference: Norwich and the Medieval Parish Church, c. 900-2107
A major conference on the medieval parish churches of Norwich will be held at Norwich Cathedral on Saturday, 17th and Sunday, 18th June. The programme includes a lecture by CVMA Author, David King, on ‘The contribution of antiquarians to the study of medieval stained glass in Norwich parish churches’. [fig. 1]
The conference is being hosted by The Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich Research Project (undertaken at the University of East Anglia and funded by The Leverhulme Trust). All 58 churches, whether existing, ruined or lost, are included in the scope of the project, which seeks insight into how the medieval city developed topographically, architecturally and socially.
The project is intended to reveal the interdependent relationship between city, community and architecture showing how people and places shaped each other during the middle ages. The conference (supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Purcell) will present the medieval parish churches of Norwich in their immediate local context and in the broader framework of urban churches in Britain and northern Europe.The subject range will include documentary history, the architectural fabric of the buildings themselves and their place in the topography of Norwich, the development of the churches’ architecture and furnishings, the representation of the churches and their post-Reformation history.
The conference will take place in The Weston Room, Norwich Cathedral Hostry, on 17th-18th June, followed by walking tours and site visits in Norwich on 19th June. The conference fee is £50 per delegate (a limited number of £40 student delegate places are also available), and this includes refreshments and a sandwich lunch on both days, as well as a drinks reception in Norwich Cathedral cloister on Saturday evening.
For further information, including provisional programme and online booking, visit the website.
For booking enquiries: please contact Katie Scales firstname.lastname@example.org
British Society of Master Glass Painters Conference: Touring Leicester
Wednesday, 30th August – Saturday, 2nd September 2017
This year’s BSMGP Autumn Touring Conference will be based in Leicester. Although the final agenda is yet to be revealed, a rich and impressive itinerary is promised. Potential highlights include Twycross, where the East Window houses some of the earliest stained glass now found in the country, originally painted for St Denis and the Ste Chapelle in Paris, and le Mans Cathedral; the Tudor Chapel at Withcote, where work attributed to Gaylon Hone, Henry VII’s glazier at King’s College, Cambridge; and, of course, the treasures of Leicester Cathedral itself. Here can be found fine examples of the work of leading Arts & Crafts artists, as well as very recent windows by Tom Denny, commemorating the discovery and reinterment of the bones of Richard III at Leicester (Fig. 1).
The Society’s conferences are led by expert guides in collaboration with members with local knowledge and connections. They attract a lively mix of stained glass artists, historians, conservators, researchers and other enthusiasts creating a vibrant and informal environment.
Residential places cost £390; non-residential places are also available at £270, including evening meals. There is a non-member supplement of £45, which includes an annual BSMGP membership. For further information and to book online, visit the BSMGP website. For enquiries, including student fees, please telephone 07969 793777 or email email@example.com.
Contemporary Glass Society Lecture: ‘Southwark Cathedral’s Stained Glass Artists’
Thursday, 20th July 2017, 7.00 pm
Southwark Cathedral is home to a wealth of stained glass, completed by a range of artists in numerous styles at a variety of dates. Caroline Swash is an award-winning stained glass artist and lecturer, and is the author of the recently-published ‘The 100 Best Stained Glass Sites in London’.
Caroline’s illustrated lecture will illuminate the remarkable artists who have contributed to Southwark Cathedral’s wealth of stained glass, including Lawrence Lee, Ninian Comper, John La Farge, Leifur Breidfjord, Ben Finn, Alan Younger and Christopher Webb.
The lecture will take place at Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA. The even is free but booking is required. For further information and tickets, please visit the Contemporary Glass Society website or telephone 0207 367 6734.