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The Windows of St Mary and St Eanswythe
The most notable examples being by Kempe who executed the three altar windows and those in the Lady Chapel. Others were supplied by Clayton & Bell, O’Connor and Hemming.
The beautiful octagonal font of 1490 was enclosed by an elaborate brass and iron screen probably made by Skidmore of Coventry. The great brass lectern is by Jones and Willis and originally stood under the tower.
The 13th Century font with its ornate 19th century brass cover
(9)The North Aisle of the Nave. These two windows once depicted Archbishops: Theodore (602 – 690), Ethelred (c880), St Anselm (1033-1109), St Thomas aka Thomas a Becket (1170) and Archbishop Laud (1573 – 1644). The glass was by Hemmings and they were destroyed in WW11
North Transept – The Matthew Window. This was given in ‘ grateful recognition’ of the work done by Canon Matthew Woodward but sadly was destroyed during the last war and has been replaced by glass commemorating various notable Folkestone families.
The Lady Chapel. All of these windows are by Kempe and depict in order from west to east: First St Gabriel, St Elizabeth) mother of John the Baptist) and John the Baptist himself; second three martyrs Saints Alban, Agnes and Faith and third the small window depicting St Anne the mother of Our Lady with Mary as a child. The east window over the altar depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Child flanked by both St Peter and St Michael.
The Chancel. The four lancet windows on the north and south sides are by Taylor and Co and show the Nativity, the Epiphany, the Purification and the Annunciation. The three lancet windows above the High Altar are by Kempe and depict in the centre the Crucifixion, on the left the Blessed Virgin with St Augustine kneeling and on the right St John with St Eanswythe kneeling. Higher up, the vessica (pointed oval) window depicts ‘The Majesty of Our Lord in Glory surrounded by angels, with his hand raised in blessing’ the glass is by Clayton and Bell (11).
The St Eanswythe Chapel. From east to west: the small lancet window depicts St Eanswythe with her pastoral staff and fish purse: St Eanswythe’s miracle of keeping the birds from the crops (replacing The Flight into Egypt which was destroyed in WW11) and a memorial window to those who gave their lives during WW11 (replacing the transfiguration destroyed in that conflict).
South Aisle of the Nave. From east to west: the three-light Children’s Window by Kempe showing Our Lord with children and Samuel and Timothy as children in the lower panels; The Communion Window by Kempe; the Confirmation Window by Hemming and the Baptism Window also by Hemming. These three windows depict biblical incidents complemented by Victoria images in the lower panels.
The west window of the South Aisle is the St John Window and depicts scenes from the lives of both St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist.
Moving to the west end of the nave there are two delightful small memorial windows either side of the west door by Kempe depicting the Fall and Expulsion from Paradise.
Occupying the west wall is the Harvey Window. This was installed in 1874 to honour the Folkestone born physician, who in 1616 first discovered the circulation of the blood. The glass is by Kempe and the stone tracery by Stallwood. The subject is the Tree of Life and shows Our Lord crucified thereon. The branches include four healing miracles recounted in the Gospels.
The Baptistery. A pair of windows by Kempe, depict the mission of St Augustine with King Ethelbert on the left and St Augustine on the right. Above is a Rose Window depicting the Baptism of Our Lord. In the north wall is a small window containing recently discovered glass depicting St Peter with his crossed keys, which was hidden behind a staircase leading up to the gallery. It dates from about 1860
In 1858 Matthew Woodward was able to commence the rebuilding of the nave with the architect R.C.Hussey. The nave arcades were re-constructed exactly as they had been originally and a new and wider north aisle and transept were constructed.
The Stations of the Cross by Hemmings, who did most of the other murals, date from the early eighteen-nineties. They are thought to be unique with such detailed figures about one-third life size.
Matthew Woodward’s long incumbency of forty-seven years is commemorated by a brass on the floor of the chancel near the Communion rail. During this time he embarked on a series of schemes for enlarging and decorating the church. With furnishings and murals by a variety of artists and every window filled with stained glass, including Kempe’s magnificent Harvey Memorial Window of 1880, the building had been transformed by the time of his death in May 1898.
The Matthew Woodward Memorial Brass
Charles Eamer Kempe was born at Ovingdean Hall in Sussex, in a valley of the South Downs near Brighton. The youngest of the seven children of Nathaniel Kempe, JP. his mother was Nathaniel’s second wife Augusta, who was herself the daughter of a former Lord Mayor of London. Kempe was educated at Rugby and then Pembroke College, Oxford receiving his MA in 1862. A devout Anglo-Catholic with a particularly bad stammer, which would have proved very difficult for a career in the church, he therefore devoted his life to the cause of beautifying church buildings. First he entered the office of G. F. Bodley who was the son of the family doctor, he then spent some time with the stained-glass firm of Clayton and Bell in London, and eventually set up his own highly successful firm in 1866. The firm survived until 1934, and there is an English Heritage plaque on his former London home and studio at 37, Nottingham Place, Marylebone, W1
Kempe liked to work in late medieval/early Renaissance style and his work is also distinguished by its detailed face-drawing and shimmering greens. “He gave England some of the most glowing windows in our church,” says Arthur Mee ( a British writer and journalist of the period). The Kempe Studios supplied many cathedrals, too, and Kempe’s fame spread far beyond Britain, particularly to North America . He employed as many as a hundred men. Perhaps his most prestigious commission was for the royal mausoleum in Darmstadt, where he was asked to commemorate Princess Alice’s little son.
Clayton and Bell was one of the most prolific and proficient workshops of English stained glass during the latter half of the 19th century. The partners were John Richard Clayton (London, 1827–1913) and Alfred Bell (Silton, Dorset, 1832–95). The company was founded in 1855 and continued until 1993. Their windows are found throughout the United Kingdom, in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Clayton and Bell’s commercial success was due to the high demand for stained glass windows at the time, their use of the best quality glass available, the excellence of their designs and their employment of efficient factory methods of production.
They collaborated with many of the most prominent Gothic Revival architects.
The High Altar itself came a little later, probably about 1910. Its mensa (table) is formed by a massive slab of pink marble. This is supported on a base of carved English oak, which has five compartments with scenes in terra cotta of the life of Our Lord.
Read on for details of the repairs to the fire damaged sixteenth century glass.
The roundels were given to the church by a local parishioner and benefactor in 1955. According to notes made at the time, they came via Nackington House near Canterbury, a large seventeenth-century mansion which was demolished in 1919. Shortly after their donation to the church, the panels were installed in a quarry-glazed partition in a newly built vestry annexe. Because of their location they were not seen by the public and remained largely unknown. They were not described in William Cole’s, A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain, Corpus Vitrearum Great Britain, Summary Catalogue 1, Oxford, 1993. To the best of our knowledge they have never been published previously.
Description of the Panels
The roundels can be divided into two groups: three figurative roundels of continental origin and four heraldic roundels, almost certainly English. Fortunately, and significantly for this story, they were professionally photographed by Halksworth & Wheeler, a well-known firm of studio portrait photographers in Folkestone, before they were installed in the vestry. Without the existence of these excellent photographs, our task would truly have been impossible. The photographs show:
Roundel 1: The Archangel St Michael and the dragon surrounded by an ornamental border. Dark brown glass paint and pale lemon silver stain. The border or frame is later and includes two replacement sections. The style is Netherlandish or French, c. 1500. Size: approx. 395 x 315 mm.
Roundel 2: St Luke the Evangelist surrounded by an ornamental border. The saint sits in his study holding a crucifix. His evangelist symbol of the winged ox nestles on the floor to his right. A lavabo hangs above a fire behind him. No restoration replacements. Netherlandish or French. c. 1510 -20. Size: approx. Ø 300 mm.
Roundel 3: St George and the dragon surrounded by an ornamental border. Only one of the border pieces dates from the sixteenth century, the rest are restoration replacements. French or Netherlandish, possibly mid-sixteenth century. Size approx: Ø 305 mm.
Roundel 4: A coat of arms per pale, (1), sable a bend Or (gold) on a canton sinister argent (silver), a Lion’s mask Or, (2) sable a female Gryphon (or griffin) rampant argent.
Black paint and orange silver stain, no enamels, early sixteenth-century with a Renaissance-influenced garland border. Size: approx. Ø 320 mm.
In 1955 a cathedral archivist suggested that these arms might show Isacke of Ickham/Patrixbourne and Colkyn of Boughton-under-Blean, families and villages in the vicinity of Canterbury. Dr Richard Baker, FHG, the Vice-Principal of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, has recently confirmed that the dexter (left hand) coat is certainly that of the Isacke family of Patrixbourne, and that the Colkins of Boughton did indeed use a griffin for their arms. He has also drawn attention to references in the International Genealogical Index which allege that there was a marriage between Edward Isacke (son of William Isacke and Margaret Haute) and Margaret Griffin at Patrixbourne in 1542-ish . The Griffin families, including the Griffins of Braybrooke, also bore a similar coat of arms.
Roundel 5: Coat of arms [unidentified] argent. On a chevron sun between three Lion’s heads erased, (argent or natural colour), crudely executed and surrounded by an ornamental border with the date 1565, probably extraneous. Middle sixteenth century [?]. One old restoration to the border. Yellow silver stain. Size: approx. 420 x 325 mm. Once again Dr Baker has been extremely helpful, citing a close match with the Jephson family of Froyle, Hertfordshire and Mallow, Co. Cork – who bore ‘Argent, on a chevron sable between three lions’ heads erased gules bezanty a sun in splendour or’ (the lion heads were red with gold spots). He has also noted that there is a similar coat of arms for Johnson in which the sun is replaced by an estoile and the lion heads are red.
Roundel 6: The rebus of Prior Thomas Goldstone II (the penultimate Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, subsequently Canterbury cathedral, 1495 – 1517) with the initials T and G flanking a crozier rising from a gold stone. Inscription: non nobıs d[omi]ne non nobis sed nomíní Tuo da gloriam which can be translated as: Verse 1 of Psalm 115 (or verse 9 of 113B in the Septuagint , the Greek version of Hebrew bible) : ‘Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your own name give the glory’. This verse also appears as an inscription on the buttressing arch between the western pillars of the central tower of Canterbury Cathedral. It is attributed to Prior Goldstone II by Joseph Cowper, The Memorial Inscriptions of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, 1897, Cross & Jackman (Canterbury) p. 251, on the grounds that Goldstone built the central tower. There is another Goldstone rebus on the Christ Church Gate of Canterbury Cathedral, just above the postern. Brown-black glass paint and a wide range of silver stain variations. Similar in style, colour, condition of glass and paint to Roundel 7. Three restoration replacements. Size: approx. Ø 365 mm.
In September 2006 the vestry of St Mary and St Eanswythe was attacked by arsonists during a break-in. The fire was started close to the vestry screen and as a result the roundels were badly damaged.
The St Luke and St George panels escaped serious damage and stayed within their lead matrix. The other five panels disintegrated and ended up on the floor in hundreds of small fragments, mixed up with the remains of glass from the quarry background, molten lead, and the charred remains of vestments and furnishings.
In the aftermath of the fire the churchwardens and members of the congregation sifted through this debris and collected the larger fragments on trays. Most of the remaining charcoal, lead and glass mixture was swept up and saved in two buckets.
Assessment, cleaning and locating fragments
The roundels which had survived in situ were removed by the Cathedral Studios shortly after the fire for cleaning and repair. The two buckets of fragments arrived at the studio some time later.
In April 2008 the condition of the glass was assessed in detail. As a result of sifting through the debris buckets many more fragments were found, some of them very small and others firmly embedded in molten lead. Several large lumps of lead had to be melted down to release the fragments hidden within.
Once the fragments were in their correct positions, the extent of the problem became clear: about 20% of the glass had been lost and most of the losses were not contiguous, but scattered across the roundels. Moreover, although the surface paint of the roundels proved to be relatively stable, this was more than could be said for the glass itself: apart from having shattered into hundreds of fragments, many of the individual fragments also displayed the craquelé of small stress fractures so typical of fire damage.
Traditional repair and infill methods were impossible due to the complex shapes and patchy survival of the historic glass. In many cases releading the breakages was also technically impossible.
The solution was found in the innovative use of resin casts. First, we made a cast to match the size of the original piece of glass with pockets for the fragments created by wax placeholders. After the resin had set the wax was removed and the original fragments were inserted into each pocket where they are held in their pre-damage position. Next we painted the missing parts of the roundel (with inside painting to minimise parallax distortions) onto a new sheet of thin glass which was ‘plated’ over the resin casts and leaded up as a ‘sandwich’ in the traditional manner.
This technique allows the glass to be read again, while still giving the viewer some indication of the catastrophic damage suffered by the objects. At the same time, the intervention is completely reversible. Without this treatment the fragments would probably have been destined for a dark drawer or a museum somewhere far away from the place where they belong.
The seven panels will not be re-installed into the vestry screen; rather the aim is to display them in a more accessible place within the church, together with information about their history and conservation.
Our Top Priorities
The roof is obviuosly the most important strucure on the building, protecting all inside. We crucially need to complete all necessary repairs to make this 100% watertight.
The church is full of beautiful and intricate tapestries surviving so much through time and our aim is to make sure that survival is continued for many more visitors to enjoy.
We all know that churches can be cold places due to the scale of the buildings, but it's not much fun to shiver in! The more efficient and cost-effective the heating system, the warmer we'll be.
Our constant. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to raise money. Join us and be part of the proud team looking after just one piece of Folkestone's heritage.
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We Folkestonians cannot let neglect succeed in destroying our Church - the focal point of the town and it’s history - where fire and wars have failed. Once the Church has gone it will be gone for good. For the love of Folkestone we need to act now.
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who we are
The Friends of St Mary and St Eanswythe Parish Church began on 21st March 2014 and is dedicated to the preservation of St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church.
REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER 1161358
what we do
Our sole aim is to raise funds all of which will be devoted to the upkeep of the building and to the furthering of public understanding of its history, architecture and significance.