The 17th Century Glass at St Laurence, Upminster
Christopher Parkinson with the assistance of Penny Hebgin-Barnes
Several churches in the present London Boroughs but formerly in the county of Essex have relatively unknown but good collections of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century painted glass. Amongst these are St Thomas at Noak Hill, which contains a substantial part of a large nineteenth-century collection made by Sir Thomas Neave of Dagenham Park;  the medieval chapel of Ilford Hospital , and the Lethieullier Chapel at St Mary the Virgin, Little Ilford .
The church of St Laurence, Upminster also numbers among these sites. The Upminster glass was originally armorial and inserted during 1630, but it now also contains alien fragments, including painted figures of musketeers with several other domestic scenes. A first glimpse of the glass was given when images of it were used to illustrate a piece for Vidimus  in the summer of 2016 announcing the completion a photographic survey of pre-1700 glass remaining in Essex churches. Now, Upminster is the first site to be catalogued for the forthcoming CVMA Summary Catalogue for Essex . The following is an adaption of this first catalogue entry, supplemented, by way of context, with brief histories of the church building and of the families connected with the church whose arms are represented in the glass.
The Church of St Laurence, Upminster
Upminster, now in the London Borough of Havering but formally in the county of Essex, lies approximately 16 miles east of central London at the terminus of the London Underground’s District Line. In terms of its earliest history, Morant  notes that ‘Minster’ usually signifies a cathedral or collegiate church, while ‘Up’ is derived from a situation on rising ground or distinguishing a church from neighbouring churches. A church guide book  speculates that in the seventh century St Cedd may have built a church at Upminster  but there are no extant records to substantiate this claim.
A church is known to have existed at Upminster by 1223, when Viel Engaine, Lord of the Manor of Gaynes (d. 1244), granted 40s. a year from Upminster church to the priory of Worspring, Somerset. From this time survives the present west tower, its bell chamber constructed 100 years later. Early in the fourteenth century, a north aisle was added which incorporated an earlier chantry chapel founded by Sir John Engaine (d.1297).
The chantry chapel was initially known as the Gaines Chapel, but wills  from the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries suggest it was then called the Lady Chapel or St Mary’s Chapel, the name it retains today. (To avoid confusion, this chapel will subsequently be referred to as the chantry chapel.) Between 1597 and 1601, complaints were made regarding the state of the church, churchyard and rectory, and records from the Archdeacon’s Court at Romford of April 1622 ordered the churchwardens to arrange for a rate to repair the church. In 1630 Hamlet Clarke of London carried out repairs to the chantry chapel including the insertion of the painted and dated armorial glass in the chantry east window that is the focal point of this piece . A church inventory of 1683 , however, referred to the chapel as “much out of repair, the beams rotten”. In 1771 after it had fallen into further decay, Sir James Esdaile rebuilt the north chapel and encased the north aisle with stock bricks and inserted circular windows.
The armorial glass was removed from the east window and reinserted with other panels and fragments of glass in a north window (nIV) where it is currently situated. In 1845 Suckling  noted that this glass had been ‘much injured by the hands of violence’ and about this time or later in the 19th century some restoration of the glass took place . During 1861-2 the church was rebuilt with further repairs carried out in 1906. In 1928—9 the church was extended eastwards to the designs of Sir Charles Nicholson. A new Lady Chapel was erected east of the chantry chapel, the old chancel taken into the nave and a new one built together with the new south chapel of St George. New vestries were built in 1937 .
A Manorial History of Upminster and its associated Families to 1630
In his History of Essex, Morant notes that there were six ancient manors at Upminster, the largest and most important being Upminster Hall and Gaines. The manor of Upminster Hall was presented by Earl Harold in 1062 to the abbey founded by him at Waltham, the manor being then known as Waltham Hall. The manor remained with the Abbey until the Dissolution when it passed to Thomas Cromwell, after which it reverted to the crown before being sold in 1543 to Ralph Latham, citizen and goldsmith of London. Ralph (d. 1557) was succeeded by his son, William, who leased most of the manor in 1576 to George Wiseman. In 1594 the freehold was sold to Roger James (d. 1596), mercer of London whose son then sold the manor to Serjeant Ralph Latham in 1628.
Gaines manor was held by the Engaine family for most of the thirteenth century and in the fourteenth century by the Havering family and Alice Perrers. Early in the fifteenth century, the manor was held by Roger Deyncourt, and it remained in this family until 1526 when it was sold to Nicholas Wayte (d.1542), who was related to the Deyncourts by marriage. Wayte’s heirs, in 1543, sold the manor to the same Ralph Latham of London who at the same time purchased the manor of Upminster Hall. Ralph was the son of Robert Latham of North Ockendon and grandson of Sir Robert Latham. Sir Robert had married Thomasine, daughter and heir of Thomas Ardall. From this branch of the family were descended the Lathams of Stifford .
Ralph’s son, William, sold Gaines manor to Gerrald D’ewes (d.1592) in 1587. In 1593, Gerrald’s son, Paul, re-conveyed the manor back to William Latham, with remainder to his son, William Latham the younger, on his marriage to Gerrald D’ewes’ daughter, Alice. The manor was then settled on their son Ralph Latham in 1612, he then becoming a Common Serjeant of London. In 1641, Ralph mortgaged the manor and it became the property of the Grave family until 1722, when it was sold to George Montgomerie. Upon his death, the manor was conveyed to Sir James Esdaile, Lord Mayor of London 1777-8.
One other person with an important connection to the armorial glass is Hamlet Clarke. His daughter and heiress Mary, from his first marriage, married Serjeant Ralph Latham. On William Latham the younger’s death, Hamlet married his widow Alice, becoming both father-in-law and stepfather of Serjeant Ralph Latham. As noted above, Hamlet restored the Chantry Chapel in 1630, inserting armorial glass celebrating the Latham family’s history and connections in the chapel’s east window.
The church also possesses a number of brasses of individuals associated with the church’s history and, in turn, its glazing. Pevsner  describes these as one of the better collections surviving in Greater London, and it includes, Elizabeth (d. 1455), wife of Roger Deyncourt (d. 1455) and daughter of Henry de la Feld. (Both Roger and Elizabeth are buried under the arch that separates the chantry chapel from the then chancel ). Nicholas Wayte (d. 1542) and his wife Ellyn; Gerald D’ewes (d. 1592); and Grace Latham (d. 1626) daughter of William Latham. There is also an inscription to Hamlet Clarke and his second wife Alice.
Surviving Stained and Painted Glass (nIV, north wall of former chantry chapel): an Overview
The only reference to the pre-1630 glazing in the church is made in a nineteenth-century antiquarian account , which cites an unknown writer who visited the church soon after 1610 and wrote, referring to monuments of the Gaines family, that,
“There is no tomb or gravestone left to this famile, but onely by their coat of armour in the east window of the Chapell.”
Of the 1630 glazing, Morant , writing in 1768, very briefly mentions the arms of “Latham, Deyncourt, etc with 1630 under them” in the east window of the north wall of the Chantry Chapel. Wilson , in 1881, gives more detailed descriptions of these along with the arms for Engaine, but does not mention any other additions from earlier or later periods. The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) volume  which covered Upminster and was printed in 1923 gives a slightly more comprehensive description;
“collection of glass, mostly of 1630, the date occurring in both lights, consisting of helms with crests of Lathum and elaborate mantling, four shields-of-arms, including those of Dencourt and Engaine, other miscellaneous pieces, among them four enamel-painted quarries of the 17th century, made up with modern glass”.
The present church guide book  describes non–ecclesiastical glass present in the window and a free pamphlet given by the church  notes that as the stained glass in nIV contains ‘no religious themes’ and was ‘probably therefore made for one of the large houses in Upminster’. This suggestion of a domestic source for much of the non-armorial glass is probably correct. In 1771, Sir James Esdaile, who had bought the manor of Gaines the previous year, began a programme of building, renovation and landscaping which transformed the town of Upminster . This began with the rebuilding of the chantry chapel and re-siting the armorial glass from the east to a north window. At the same time the old Gaines manor house was demolished and replaced with a new mansion . This would have provided an opportunity for any unwanted old glass remaining in the old manor-house to be removed to the church, as it was not unusual for domestic glazing from the manor house or rectory to end up in the church, or vice versa.
The guide book also mentions that the window has fragments of a much earlier date than the 1630 armorial glass, these are presumably the 4 quarries in nIV 2b (see figs 19 to 22). The RCHME did not mention these, possibly as they thought them to be modern. One of these quarries (fig 22 ) however could date to the fifteenth century and have been sourced from St Laurence’s church and reset after the major building work of 1928/9 and 1937, or during restoration work after WWII bomb damage. Another possible source is from a chapel attached to the manor- house at Upminster Hall . Built of stone by an abbot of Waltham, it was partly demolished c.1734 and its stone font presented to St Laurence’s church. The remaining part of the chapel was incorporated into the stables and destroyed by fire in 1852.
At present, the remains of the armorial glass of 1630 along with possibly earlier and later additions are in window nIV; a two light window with three tracery lights in the north wall of the former chantry chapel. It is protected with a grille on the exterior.
Armorial glass from 1630 currently present in nIV
In 5a (fig 4) and 3b (fig 5), are the crests of the Latham family. These portray an eagle holding a swaddled child with helm and mantling, set beneath a round arch decorated with putto heads. In 6a (fig 6) there is a complete grotesque head on ground of scales while 4b, (figs 7, 8, 9) has an incomplete grotesque head, part of the scrollwork and parts of a hoofed beast. Fig 9 clearly shows that these beasts flanked of a crest. Further fragments from this or similar helms and mantling occur throughout the window, notably at the top of panel 2b. In 4a is a shield (fig 10) quarterly, 1st and 4th Latham Or on a chief indented azure 3 plates, the central plate differenced with a martlet sable, 2nd Ardall Argent a chevron between 3 estoiles gules, 3rd Clarke Or on a bend engrailed azure 3 fusils of the 1st.
This shield shows the alliances through marriage between; i) Serjeant Ralph Latham and Mary, daughter and heiress of Hamlet Clarke; ii) Sir Robert Latham and Thomasine, daughter and heiress to John Ardall of Stifford Essex. However, the Clarke quartering on the shield appears to have been cut down from a larger armorial of the same date since the top and bottom fusils on the bend are truncated by the edges of the present piece. This suggests that the Clarke quartering is intruded and the shield originally depicted the arms of Latham quartering Ardall. The sections of mantling on either side of the shield have been swapped and are both upside down.
Below this shield, in 3a, is part of a shield of Deyncourt. Being the same size as the shield above it can perhaps be assumed to have come from the 1630 gazing campaign along with a fragment contained in 2a, of a shield quartering of D’ewes, Or 3 quatrefoils pierced gules (fig 11).
The D’ewes arms may be explained in the original glazing campaign as representing the alliance through marriage of Alice D’ewes to first William Latham and then Hamlet Clarke. Fig 12 shows a sketch by Weever  depicting such an armorial shield showing William Latham’s coat of arms impaling that of Alice D’ewes. A letter sent by Sir Symonds D’ewes to his father, Paul D’ewes, brother of Alice D’ewes, is reproduced by Wilson . It describes a family dispute but shows that the glass from the 1630 campaign was probably in-situ by September 1630:
Islington, Sep.23rd, 1630
Sir Jn Engayne, Knt., whose coate you have quarted with others at Stow, did build the Chappel-temp. Edd. I, and appropriate it to the manour of Gains. After him, the manr of Gains coming to De La Felde, that family enjoied it with the mannour. So did the Deincourts and ther onlie buried, as have the Lathums since. And ther is (I believe by my directions) ere this sett upp over the east window ‘Sacellum beatӕ Marieae manneris de Gains appendum.’
And by what right my grandfather ther buried? But so he had been, and you were – pro tempore dominus? I can assure you my Cousin Lathum is as jealous of his right to the Chapell as the royaltie.
There are now two escuchions burning, in glass, wherin my uncle Clarke is at the cost to sett upp your coat armour in two several empalements in the Chapell .
The last surviving parts of the 1630 glazing campaign are the two inscriptions of 1630 in 1a and 2b, the former (fig 13) is set on a cartouche decorated with architectural scrollwork, fruit, vegetables, foliage and flowers (a fragment of this cartouche design is in the lower central section of 2a). The latter (fig 14) is now in two halves either side of nineteenth-century shields.
Overall, the 1630 glass is in good condition, with some pitting and leaded breaks. The glass painting is of a high quality, probably from a London workshop, with careful shading and modelling of surfaces, stickwork highlights and the surface of the cartouche painted to simulate purple veined marble. White glass is used with black paint, yellow stain and red, blue, brown, purple, and orange enamels.
There are several contemporay additions to the 1630 glazing campaign which probably came from a domestic context. The most notable and important of these are in 4b (fig 15), showing two musketeers each armed with an arquebus, an early form of hand gun. Series of quarries based on drill books illustrating pike and musket exercises became a popular subject for domestic glazing from the late 1620s when there was a national drive to improve civil defence in England by training and equipping local militias. Examples of these drill quarries have been found at several sites in Cheshire and one in Derbyshire but Upminster provides the only known case in the south of England .
The remainder of these alien fragments are in panels 2a and 3a, and include:
i) an incomplete armorial of Swain (fig 16) Azure on a chevron between 3 pheons or a mullet sable, on a chief gules 3 maidens’ heads couped proper, crined or, with helm, crest and mantling .
ii) a leg of an armed figure, two flowering plants (figs 16, 26 and 27)
iii) a bird, possibly a crow standing by a river bank (fig 17)
iv) a scene showing the Israelites gathering manna (Exodus 16:13-15) : in an outdoor setting a woman presumably holding a quail reaches down while a man gestures and a boy holding a basket stands behind them; all look down at something hidden in undergrowth (fig 18).
The Swain armorial, bird and biblical scene share a particularly severe loss of blue enamel paint, a defect often found in glass of this period but not in the 1630 armorial scheme.
Possible medieval fragments
Panel 2b contains four quarries (figs 19– 22), some, it is suggested in the church guide, pre-dating the 1630 armorial glass.
These quarries show (fig 19) a scroll with the inscription /ora pro nobis/; the sacred monogram ‘M’, now upside down (fig 20); an oak spray with acorns (fig 21); and the sacred monogram ‘ihs’, the ‘h’ crowned (fig 22).
Close inspection casts doubt on the antiquity of most of these quarries. They have a look and appearance of nineteenth-century copies, although the pitting on the white glass shown in fig 22 may suggest it is the only original piece of the church’s fifteenth-century glazing to survive.
Nineteenth-century restorers appear to have been keen to supplement the church’s recorded lost glazing and monuments. Three large shields were added to the window in the nineteenth century, presumably to replace similar examples damaged or lost from the 1630 glazing campaign. Suckling in 1845  describes the inscriptions around the shields in panel 2b and notes that they had suffered from the hands of ‘violence’, suggesting that these copies were inserted after 1845. The nineteenth-century shields are:
1b Shield of Deincourt (fig 23): Arg. A fess dancette between ten billets, sa, with a blue, white and orange dot platted border. Enamel painted fragments in bottom left and right corners.
2b (lower) Shield of Engaine (fig 24): Gu. A fess dancette, between six cross crosslets or. In a scroll around the shield the inscription ‘Arma Johannis Engaine militis qui hoc sacellum edficarit’.
2b (upper) Shield of Deincourt impaling De La Felde (fig 25): Arg. A fess dancette between ten billets, sa. Impaling sa. a chevron between three garbs arg. for Delafield. In a scroll around the shield the inscription ‘Arma Roberti Deincourt armiger, et Elizabeth uxoris ejus’.
The brightly coloured glass used for infill in the b lights and all tracery lights is typical of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and may have come from Edsaile’s or an early-nineteenth century intervention. Other nineteenth-century additions to the window include, in panel 2a (figs 26 and 27), a stylised flower heads and 3 butterflies.
Panel 3a has two quarries which probably date from the late nineteenth century (fig 28). The crowned letters appear to be based on the earlier monogram quarry (fig 29). Two further fragments of 19th century glass can be found at the top of 6a and 4b respectively (figs 30 and 31).
A fuller description of the glass and its condition will appear in the forthcoming CVMA catalogue for Essex. At the time of writing St Laurence, Upminster is usually open every morning and visitors are warmly welcomed.
My thanks are given foremost to Penny Hebgin-Barnes for guiding me through the initial stages of preparing written entries for the CVMA catalogue for Essex, and for her huge contribution, encouragement and meticulous eye for detail during the preparation of this article. Thanks are also extended to the Revd Susannah Brasier, Rector at St Laurence and her team for all their support and help given.
Each main light: approx. 50 cm width and max height 175 cm
1630 shields: approx. 17 cm width and max height 23 cm
1630 crests, helms and mantling:(nIV 5a, 3b): approx. 50 cm width and max. height 43 cm
1630 mantling panels (nIV 4a): each panel approx. 15 cm width and height 26 cm
1630 date inscription panels: nIV 1a approx. 37 cm width and height 5 cm
nIV 2b approx. 14 and 16 cm width and height 5cm
Musketeer panels (nIV 4b): each panel approx. 7 cm width and height 8 cm
Crow and family scene panels (nIV 3a): each panel approx. 9 cm width and height 7 cm
19th century shields with boarders (nIV 1b, 2b): approx. 27 cm width and max height 29 cm
Quarries (nIV 3a, 2b): each quarry approx. 12 cm width and height 15 cm
Other stained glass in the church
I, sVII, sXII and wI 1a by Percy C. Bacon +1927
nII unknown maker +1916
nIII by Maile +1932
sIII by Luxford Studios +1945
sVIII (tracery lights only) by Wailes (?) c1860
wI 1b by Powell & Sons 1935
J. Weever, Ancient Funeral monuments, London, 1767
Revd P. Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex vol I, London, 1768
T. Wright, The History and Topography of The County of Essex, 2 vols, London, 1835
Revd A. Suckling, Memorials of the Antiquities and Architecture, Family History and Heraldry of the County of Essex, London, 1845
D. W. Coller, The Peoples History of Essex, Chelmsford, 1861
T. L. Wilson, History and Topography of Upminster, Romford, Stratford and Brentwood, 1880-1 Royal Commission on Historic Monuments (England) Essex, vol IV, London, 1923
The Victoria History of the County of Essex, vol VII, London, 1978
Harriman , Journal of Stained Glass, Vol XXVI p75-84, BSMGP, 2002
N. Pevsner, B. Cherry, C. O’Brien, The Buildings of England London: 5, London, 2005
P. Hebgin-Barnes, The Medieval Glass of Cheshire, Oxford, 2010
Anon., The Parish Church of St Lawrence, Upminster, a brief history and guide, n.d.
Anon., St Lawrence, The Parish Church of Upminster, Free Guide, c.2015
Notes and references
For CVMA digital images first go to http://www.cvma.ac.uk/jsp/index.jsp then type in the inv. no in relevant pane.
1. 2015, digital images, CVMA inv. no. 028686 to 028721.
2. 2014, digital images, CVMA inv. no. 028149 to 028166.
3. 2015, digital images, CVMA inv. no. 028624 to 028635.
4. Vidimus 100, June 2016 http://vidimus.org/blogs/news/photographic-survey-of-stained-glass-in-essex-churches-complete/
5. Penny Hebgin-Barnes is the author of the three CVMA volumes on the Medieval Glass of Lincolnshire, Lancashire and Cheshire.
6. Morant Essex vol I 1768 p106
7. St Lawrence Upminster, a brief history and guide, n.d. p1
8. St Cedd was sent to East Anglia and founded many churches including the monasteries at nearby Tilbury and Bradwell-on-Sea.
9. Wilson 1880-1 p68-9. Wilson references two wills, one for Ralph Lathum dated 16th July 1557 which directs his remains to be buried in the Lady Chapel of Upminster. Another will for Hamlet Clarke dated 14th September 1634 which gives his wish to be buried in St Mary’s Chapel, Upminster.
10. Suckling 1845 p55
11. St Lawrence Upminster, a brief history and guide, n.d. p2
12. Suckling 1845 p55
13. see ‘19th Century Additions’ in this article for evidence to support this supposition.
14. VCH Essex 1978 p158
15. Morant Essex vol I 1768 p108. Morant additionally adds;
“Ralph Latham was a lineal descendant in the male line from a younger branch of the ancient family of Latham, of Latham in Lancashire. They were
Lords there from the reign of King Richard I to King Edward III when Isabel, sole daughter of Sir Thomas Latham, by her marriage to Sir John
Stanley in 1385, brought it into the noble family of Stanley, Earls of Derby.”
16. Pevsner, Cherry, O’Brien 2005 p209
17. Wilson 1880-1 p73, 74
18. ibid, p41
19. Morant Essex vol I 1768 p111
20. Wilson 1880-1 p78
21. RCHME Essex 1923 p161
22. St Lawrence Upminster, a brief history and guide, n.d. p5
23. Coller 1861 p352-353
24. Anon., St Lawrence, The Parish Church of Upminster, Free Guide, c2015
25. VCH Essex 1978 p145
26. Coller 1861 p351. The mansion built by Sir James Esdaile was demolished in 1820.
27. Weever 1767 p407. Pages 403-407 are on Upminster and the sketch of a shield reproduced in this article concludes the Upminster entry. It is not clear whether this shield was in the church when Suckling visited; it may have been removed during Esdaile’s restoration of 1771. A shield with the Lathum and Ardalle arms quarterly with a crescent for difference is on a monumental brass is in the neighbouring church of St Mary, Stifford: http://www.thurrock-history.org.uk/stifford2.htm
28. Wilson 1880-1 p76
29. Wright 1831 p528 Paul Dewes bought (West?) Stow Hall in Suffolk which he made his place of residence.
30. Hebgin-Barnes 2010, pp. cxli-cxlii; Panel of the Month, Vidimus 44, October 2010 http://vidimus.org/issues/issue-44/panel-of-the-month/; Harriman 2002 p75-84.
31. No link has been found between the Swain family and Upminster to date.
32. Exodus 16:13-15 (KJV) And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wiht not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.
33. Suckling 1845 p55