Heraldry and Loss at East Sutton church

An article about the fourteenth- to seventeenth-century armorial glass in East Sutton church (Kent), by the genealogist, Marcus Herbert, appears in the 2018 volume of Archaeologia Cantiana, the Journal of the Kent Archaeological Society.

Fig. 1. Detail of Angel, South chapel window at East Sutton church.

Fig. 1. Detail of Angel, South chapel window at East Sutton church.

East Sutton church (seven miles south-east of Maidstone) dates from the thirteenth to the early six-teenth century. Most of the medieval glass is in the south chapel and shows, inter alia, fragments of heads and shoulders of two 15th century angels wearing cross diadems, a head of the Virgin Mary with a scroll inscription around her halo, ‘ecce ancilla domini’ and an interesting collection of armorials. [Fig. 1]

The author discusses the heraldry of these armorials and discusses why they appear in the church. He suggests that some panels might be imports from the neighbouring East Sutton manor house. The armorials include heraldry of the families of Valence, Hastings, St Leger, Mortimer of Wigmore, a Duke of York, Guildford, Halden, Argall, Scott and Filmer.

The article also chronicles the destruction of glass in the church during the English civil war. According to notes compiled by Sir Robert Filmer (d.1653) on 27 July 1642:

Cornet May (a cornet was the third and lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop. The rank was abolished in 1871’ Ed.) came to search East Sutton Belfry for arms there, he tore the surplice with his owne hands, tooke away a Bible, a service booke and a booke of homilies out of the Church and broke the glasse windows.

Herbert suggests that these notes were copied almost verbatim from his wife’s diary or perhaps vice versa, the main difference being that Lady Anne Filmer apparently wrote of the same attack, ‘and broke down the screen and the painted glass windows’. ‘The Painted Glass at East Sutton Church and the Arms of a Duke of York’, Marcus Herbert, Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol 139, 2018, pp 1-15.

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