The St Nicholas Chapel east window
The lean on this window is very marked, and can only be accounted for by the hypothesis that the foundations began to sink during the very building of the St Nicholas Chapel. Each of the three lights leans to the south (the right), the degree of lean increasing with each light. And each of them splays outwards to the top, so that the top of each light is wider than the foot. The glass was made from the start to ﬁt this leaning stonework, so that the lean was apparent before ever the glass was installed.
The builders were obviously conﬁdent that their remedial work had corrected the deﬁciency in the foundations, for the window was installed. Had the stonework continued spreading, the glass could not have survived.
The St Michael and St John window’s restoration in 1861
The 19 th -century restoration of this window is recorded in the inscription across the foot: Hanc fenestram antiquam suis impensis refecit Robertus Whytehead hujus parochiæ rector Ano. Dni. 1861 (‘Robert Whytehead, rector of this parish, repaired this ancient window at his own expense.’) (It appears to read Hac fenestra antiqua, but there is in fact a ‘macron’ or horizontal line above the last letter of each word, signifying the omission of the ‘n’ and two ‘m’s. The macron is almost hidden by the glazing lead.)
‘At his own expense’ was no doubt so that he could include the armorial record of his marriage three years earlier. There is a contrast drawn with the parallel inscription of the same date at the foot of the Pricke of Conscience window (page 14), where the rector is not named and where it is stated that the window was restored ære collato, ‘after fund-raising’.
Original donors of the St Michael and St John window
The 19 th -century inscription is clearly in the place of the original record of donors, which has not survived. There are, however, earlier records of some of their names.
A key person of importance was James Baguley, Rector of All Saints 1413-1440. This is the period during which most of the windows in All Saints were installed or at least planned, and Gee suggests that ‘he may have been the prime mover of the whole scheme of glazing’ (Gee p. 190). According to Henry Johnston, in 1670 the inscription below the window read:
Orate pro animabus dni Jacobi Baguley istius ecclesie
Pray for the souls of Fr. James Baguley [rector] of this church
Roberti Chapman . . . . uxoris eiusdem
Robert Chapman [and ...] wife of the same
uxoris de . . . Ab . . . . . . et . . . . . . . . Alicie
...wife of ....and...Alice...
Baguley died in post in 1440. The window may have been commissioned before then, in which case Baguley is one of the donors. Alternatively, it may have been made after his death, in which case he was not a donor (he leaves no bequest for it in his will), and it is likely therefore that the actual donors gave it in his memory.
It is probable that the praying ﬁgures in the left light are Baguley and then Chapman and his wife. For the leftmost donor has the tonsure (the shaven crown of the head denoting one ordained), unlike the other three male donors in this window, and he is kneeling at a litany desk. He is set apart from the other two in the left light, who are closely linked as beﬁts husband and wife. An initial which may be ‘R’ or perhaps ‘B’ (in which case it is presumably for Baguley) is above their heads. The scroll reads libera nos, ‘deliver us’, a repeated phrase in litanies.
Baguley and Robert Chapman were associated with Nicholas Blackburn jr in choosing a chaplain for the altar of St Nicholas in this chapel in 1437-9.
In sum, therefore, the Chapmans, and the unknown three in the right light (who presumably include the Alice named by Johnston), must have been the donors of the window. Either Baguley was also a donor, or else the others gave the window in his memory.
St John the Evangelist
St John is holding a scroll reading Benedictus sit sermo oris tui, ‘Blessed be the word of your mouth’. In his right hand he is holding a clasped book, an eagle (his symbol) and an ink horn.
his left hand holds a palm branch—oddly, because palms normally symbolise martyrdom (Revelation 7.9), and St John was not martyred but is known to have lived to a ripe old age. The palm is in fact an allusion to an early legend according to which Our Lady on her deathbed is given a palm from heaven by an angel with the instruction that it is to be carried before the coﬃn in her funeral procession, a task she entrusts to St John. Unbelievers scoff, and when they attempt to disrupt the funeral they are struck blind. They are converted by the preaching of St Peter and are healed by the touch of the palm. The legend appears in a book attributed to St John but certainly 5th-century, The Account of St John the Divine of the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God.Because he lived to old age, St John is often shown in art as a very young man. St Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna martyred in AD 155, had met him. The face of St John in this window portrays a beautiful combination of youthful innocence and wisdom.