Feature

Important Discoveries at Hatton church

Roger Rosewell

Fig. 1. Exterior view of Holy Trinity Church.

Fig. 1. Exterior view of Holy Trinity Church.

New discoveries have been made at Holy Trinity Church, Hatton, Warwickshire, about 12 miles south-west of Coventry. Twelve sixteenth-century demi-figures in the west window of the church, previously described as being from a Tree of Jesse scheme, have now been identified as Old Testament kings and prophets, originally from the cloister windows of one or more monasteries in and around Cologne in Germany. Many of the figures hold banderoles with Latin inscriptions containing quotations from either the Old or New Testaments, suggesting that they formed part of a typological series of images in which events in the Old Testament (types) were interpreted as prefiguring events in the New Testament (antitypes). Schemes of this kind are known to have been installed in stained glass in England from at least the twelfth century onwards; there is an early example at Canterbury Cathedral, and a fifteenth-century scheme in the cloister windows of St Albans Abbey (now St Albans Cathedral).

 

Fig. 2. Exterior view of the west tower, Holy Trinity Church.

Fig. 2. Exterior view of the west tower, Holy Trinity Church.

In the sixteenth century, some very fine examples were also installed in the cloister windows of a number of German monasteries in the Rhineland, such as the nunnery of St Cecilia in Cologne (Augustinian), and the abbeys of Mariawald (Cistercian) and Steinfeld (Premonstratensian). The Hatton figures similarities with some of these German paintings, and although they cannot be said to come from one of these three monasteries, their general provenance is apparent. Vidimus contributor and CVMA (GB) author David King has identified eight of the Hatton figures as belonging to the same series as four others from a country house in the west of England, which were bought at Sotheby’s in 1970 and can now be seen in one of the side chapels at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The Hatton figures are illustrated below.

Fig. 3. Dr Samuel Parr, portrait by George Dawe, oil on canvas, c.1813, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Fig. 3. Dr Samuel Parr, portrait by George Dawe, oil on canvas, c.1813, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Previous issues of Vidimus have discussed the role of the Norwich-based dealer, John Christopher Hampp (1750–1825), in buying displaced glass from German monasteries and selling it to wealthy English collectors. His purchases included, among others, windows from two of the abbeys already mentioned: Mariawald (suppressed in 1795) and Steinfeld (suppressed in 1802), as well as a third, Altenberg (Cistercian, suppressed in 1803). As glass from Mariawald and Steinfeld formed part of the same Sotheby’s lot as the four figures now in King’s College, it suggests that the Hatton prophets and kings were also imported by Hampp between 1802 and 1804.
When made, the Hatton figures were probably placed over main-light figures depicting typological scenes, and they seem to have been drawn from illustrations in the so-called Biblia Pauperum, a printed block-book produced from the mid-fifteenth-century onwards. Typical page layouts in the Biblia consist of images of prophets and kings at the head and foot holding appropriate inscriptions from the Old and New Testaments. Although nowadays called the Poor Man’s Bible, the book was nothing of the kind, as it was neither a Bible nor intended for poor people, who anyway could never have afforded a copy. It was rather a sophisticated theological text, which only acquired its Biblia Pauperum tag centuries after its production, by which time its original title was lost.

Fig. 4. Memorial to Jane Parr and Dr Parr at Hatton Church.

Fig. 4. Memorial to Jane Parr and Dr Parr at Hatton Church.

Before cataloguing the Hatton glass, some background detail about the church might be useful. Although not mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086), a church has existed at Hatton since at least the twelfth century, when Hugh Fitz Richard, called also Hugh de Hatton, is documented as giving it to the priory of St Mary of Monmouth, a cell of the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Florent, Saumur, in western France. Apart from the early sixteenth-century west tower, very little is known of the appearance and decoration of Hugh’s church.
The pre-Reformation interior was much altered and embellished during the incumbency of the distinguished classical scholar, educationalist and political polemicist, the Revd Dr Samuel Parr (1747–1825). Parr was presented to the curacy of Hatton in 1783 and remained there until his death. He made a number of changes to the interior of the church, some of which were documented in 1850, when the building was visited by the authors of Notices of Warwickshire Churches. The authors were not impressed: the nave was described as ‘miserable and poverty stricken’ with ‘round-headed Palladian windows’ furnished with ‘drawing room shutters to protect the painted glass’, about which the writers were particularly scathing. Contributions by Francis Eginton (1737–1805) were described as having a ‘far from good effect’, and later efforts by his son William Eginton (1778–1834) were also judged to be ‘poor’. Fortunately, no such criticisms were levelled at the twelve demi-figures that are the subject of this article, which were simply recorded as being set in a north window of the nave, together with the accompanying inscription identifying Lucy Price as the donor: ‘Ex dono Luciae Price, Anno D(omini) MDCCCX [1810]’ [Figs 3 and 4].

The chancel and nave were subsequently completely demolished and rebuilt, albeit in thirteenth-century style, by the Scottish-born architect, William Young (1843–1900) for a local millionaire, Alfred Hewlett, a wealthy mining engineer and coalmine owner who lived at nearby Haseley Manor. A memorial plaque in the church, removed from the earlier building and reinstated during the 1880 rebuilding, refers to his Parr’s residency. How Parr and Price acquired the German demi-figures is not known at the present time; suffice to say, their quality was recognized when the church was remodelled in 1880, and they were retained and reset in the present arrangement of four tiers of three figures apiece in the west window. As part of the same campaign, two figures of angels, possibly of French origin and acquired at the same time as the German glass, were installed separately in the east window of the vestry on the north side.

THE WEST WINDOW

Fig. 5. The west window.

Fig. 5. The west window.

The upper tiers of the west window glass are partly obscured by a horizontal iron bell ringing fitting that prevents close inspection [Fig. 5].

Catalogue of Figures in the West Window

Tier 1, left

Fig. 6. The prophet Isaiah.

Fig. 6. The prophet Isaiah.

Figure of the prophet Isaiah; some purple pot-metal glass [Fig. 6]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘Parvul[us] nat(us) est nobis et fili(us)’. This is Isaiah IX, 6: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son [is given]’. In the Biblia Pauperum this prophecy accompanies imagery relating to the birth of Christ and the mystery of Mary’s virginity, with a Nativity scene paired with the Old Testament story of Moses and the Burning Bush.

Tier 1, centre

Fig. 7. The prophet Isaiah.

Fig. 7. The prophet Isaiah.

Figure of the prophet Isaiah facing to dexter; the figure consists entirely of painted and yellow-stained glass; some paint loss [Fig. 7]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘Audite’. This is probably Isaiah LV, 2: ‘Hearken [diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.]’. In the Biblia Pauperum this prophecy accompanies a scene of the Last Supper paired with the Old Testament story of the Hebrews collecting manna.

Tier 1, right

Fig. 8. St John the Evangelist.

Fig. 8. St John the Evangelist.

Figure of St John the Evangelist facing to dexter; figure executed with red and blue pot-metal, but has lost most of its facial features [Fig. 8]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘super pullum asine’. This is John XII, 15: ‘[Behold, thy King cometh,] sitting on an ass’s colt.’ This is probably part of a different typological series, in which John is substituted for Matthew; see further the entry below on Job.

Tier 2, left

Fig. 9. The prophet Jeremiah.

Fig. 9. The prophet Jeremiah.

Figure of the prophet Jeremiah facing forwards [Fig. 9]. The Latin banderole says: ‘Reliqui domum mea(m) et dimisi habitacione(m)’. This is Jeremiah XII, 7, although the Vulgate has hereditatem for habitacionem: ‘I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage’. In the Biblia Pauperum the Old Testament story of Jacob leaving home is treated as a type for Christ’s leaving Bethany.

Tier 2, centre

Fig. 10. Figure of a king.

Fig. 10. Figure of a king.

The figure of a king facing to sinister; with paint and yellow stain on clear glass [Fig. 10]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘… sapie(ntie) xv cap(ut)’ (‘[Book] of Wisdom, chapter 15’). This is not clear: the illegible words come from chapter 15 of the Book of Wisdom and do not seem to relate to the Biblia Pauperum.

Tier 2, right

Fig. 11. Figure of a king.

Fig. 11. Figure of a king.

King wearing a crown within his hat, similar to a block print image in the Biblia Pauperum [Fig. 11]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘in templo s(an)cto suo : David xo psalmo’. This is Psalm X, 5 (in the Vulgate numbering): ‘[The Lord] is in his holy temple’. In the Biblia Pauperum the Presentation of Christ is paired with the Old Testament story of the boy Samuel being brought to the Lord.

Tier 3, left

Fig. 12. The prophet Isaiah.

Fig. 12. The prophet Isaiah.

Figure of the prophet Isaiah looking to sinister. The Latin banderole reads: ‘Fluent ad eu(m) om(ne)s gentes et ibu(n)t p(o)p(u)li multi’. This is Isaiah II, 2–3: ‘[... the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and] all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go [and say, Come ye, let us go to the mountain of the Lord …]’. In the Biblia Pauperum the Adoration of the Magi is paired with the Old Testament story of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon.

Tier 3, centre

Fig. 13. The prophet Ezechiel.

Fig. 13. The prophet Ezechiel.

Figure of a prophet looking to dexter [Fig. 13]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘Effu(n)da(m) super vos aqua(m) mu(n)da(m) xxxvio capute’. This is Ezechiel XXXVI, 25: ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, [and ye shall be clean].’ In the Biblia Pauperum the Baptism of Christ is paired with the Old Testament story of Naaman, who is cured of leprosy after washing in the Jordan.

Tier 3, right

Fig. 14. Prophet bearing a text from Genesis.

Fig. 14. Prophet bearing a text from Genesis.

Figure of a prophet looking to dexter [Fig. 14]. The Latin banderole reads: ‘infans octo dierum circu[m]cidet(ur) in [vobis]’. This is Genesis XVII, 12: ‘And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among [you]’. Neither the Biblia Pauperum nor the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, a long poem that was also used as source for typological pairings, has this episode. The figure may perhaps have been associated with a pairing of the Circumcision of Christ with the circumcision of Isaac in Genesis XXI, 4.

Tier 4, left

Fig. 15. The Evangelist Matthew.

Fig. 15. The Evangelist Matthew.

Figure of an Evangelist. The Latin banderole reads: ‘Dicit[e] f(i)lie Syon : ecce rex tuus venit tibi mansuet(us)[?] [et sedens super asinam] xi[?]’. This is Matthew XXI, 5: ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass.’ It is not clear in the glass how much of ‘et sedens super asinam’ is present, and the chapter number appears to be erroneous. In the Biblia Pauperum Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is paired with David entry into Jerusalem with Goliath’s head.

Tier 4, centre

Fig. 16. The prophet Job.

Fig. 16. The prophet Job.

Figure of the prophet Job facing to dexter. The Latin banderole reads: ‘oculis me i(n)tuit(us) est Job xvio’. This is Job XVI, 10: ‘[mine enemy] sharpeneth his eyes upon me’. In the Biblia Pauperum the Temptation of Eve is paired with the New Testament story of Christ’s resisting the temptations of Satan.

Tier 4, right

Fig. 17. Figure of Solomon with inscription from the Book of Proverbs.

Fig. 17. Figure of Solomon with inscription from the Book of Proverbs.

Figure of Solomon looking to dexter; the head (and body?) seem to be a later insertion. The Latin banderole reads: ‘qui vertit lingua(m) incidet in malu(m) Salom(onis) p(ro)verbior(um) [...]’. This the Book of Proverbs: XVII, 20: ‘He that perverteth his tongue, shall fall into evil. (Book) of the Proverbs of Solomon [...]’). In the Biblia Pauperum this quotation is found on a page that parallels the story of the Greek king Tryphon’s capture by deceit of the Jewish high priest, Jonathan, with the story of Judas, who deceitfully kissed Christ so that he would be captured and crucified.

Vestry

Fig. 18. Angel in east window of the vestry.

Fig. 18. Angel in east window of the vestry.

In addition to the eight figures in the west window, two previously unpublished sixteenth-century panels can be seen in the east window of the vestry. They may be French. The window is protected on the interior by a panel of Perspex.

Other glass

Apart from the pre-Reformation glass the church includes some attractive windows which post-date the 1880 rebuild. The east window of the chancel is by Lavers & Westlake, dated 1892. The south and north transept windows are by the same maker and dated 1895 and 1896 respectively. The south aisle contains two windows, each of two lights, signed by Mayer & Co. of Munich and London, dated 1883 and 1908. The architectural historian Alan Brookes has identified the makers of the other two windows in the church, both in the north aisle: Heaton, Butler & Bayne (1898) and Burlison & Grylls (1903).

Thanks

I am extremely grateful to David King and Dr Joseph Spooner; Christopher Pickford, FSA; and Jean Bradley (Baptism, Wedding & Funeral Co-ordinator at Hatton) for their help.
Further Reading

A. Henry, Biblia Pauperum, Aldershot, 1987

William Staunton and Matthew Holbeche Bloxam (attributed), Notices of Warwickshire Churches, II (1858), pp. 56–63

J. Osborne, Stained Glass in England, Stroud, 1981, p, 232

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire, London, 1966, p. 309

H. Wayment, King’s College Chapel Cambridge: the Side-Chapel Glass, Cambridge, 1988

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