All Saints Guidebook Page 10-11 Extra Information

The St Thomas window

The inscriptions

(page 14, lower picture) The scroll behind St Thomas’s head reads Dominus meus et Deus meus, ‘My Lord and my God’.

(page 15, left-hand picture) The scroll beside the head of Christ reads Thoma adfer manum...manum in latus meum...qui non viderunt, ‘Thomas, reach hither thy hand [and thrust] it into my side...[Blessed are they that] have not seen [and yet have believed]’.

The inscription is in fragments because there is clearly not enough room for the entire Latin quotation. The reader, having seen the fragments, would have no diffculty (or so the glass painter thought, at any rate) in recognising the whole passage, which is a very well-known one.

The window as a whole is clearly incomplete

The photograph below shows that the bottom panel of each light has not survived, and post- medieval restorations have replaced them with plain diamond panes. Probably the missing panels contained depictions of the donor(s) of the window.

It is clear that the archbishop in the right-hand light did not originally belong here, because the floor level under his feet does not match that in the other two lights.

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St William of York and the ‘pallium’

The pallium is a band of woven cloth that goes around the neck on the outside of an archbishop’s vestments, with a long tab hanging down the front. It is often beautifully embroidered, as St William’s is in the window.

The pallium is bestowed by the pope on archbishops, as a symbol of their archiepiscopal authority. One of the window’s ironies is that St William of York never in fact received the pallium, despite journeying twice to Rome for that express purpose. Power politics and the death of the pope intervened. He is nevertheless always depicted wearing it, that being the accepted convention for depicting an archbishop.

An interesting illustration of this convention is in York Minster. There is a large window in the north eastern transept of York Minster telling the story of St William (the largest medieval window in Europe dealing entirely with one saint). In this window he is depicted as wearing the pallium, even when the window is telling how his journey to Rome to receive it was fruitless.

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The Armorial Shields Window

As mentioned on page 11 of the Guidebook, the window immediately to the west of the St Thomas window contains a miscellany of armorial shields, of varying ages and from different places.

It is clear that the ‘canopies’ at the top of the three lights do not belong to the armorial shields (which is anyway a modern composition). They are left over from a now-lost window. Magnificent though the array of surviving windows in All Saints is, It is tantalising to reflect on how much has been lost.

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The westernmost window of the north aisle

The two-light window to the west of the Armorial Shields window is another such vanished window. It is beside the north doorway, and it also retains just its canopies, which in this case are rather more fragmentary.

At one time the six panels of the Corporal Acts of Mercy, page 12 of the Guidebook, were placed in this window, three in each light, but they certainly did not originally belong there.

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The canopies

The elaborate canopies which crown these two windows which have lost their original glass are exuberant architectural fantasies. They appear not only here but in fact in most of the windows in All Saints. The only exceptions are the Pricke of Conscience window (page 14), the St Nicholas Chapel east window (page 28) and the Nine Orders of Angels window (page 30).

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This page supplements the corresponding page in the Church Guidebook, available in the church or here on the website.