Glass from Hyde Abbey on Show in Winchester 

15th-century face from Hyde Abbey. © Wessex Archaeology.

Fig. 1. 15th-century face from Hyde Abbey. © Wessex Archaeology.

Important fragments of excavated stained glass from Hyde Abbey are on show at the Treasures of Hyde Abbey exhibition running at the Winchester Discovery Centre in Jewry Street, Winchester, Hampshire, until 2 May.

The glass was recovered during excavations in 2000–2001 by a team of archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology (see below). Among the finds was a large number of fragments of unpainted pale greenish glass, some expensive pot metal coloured glass (ruby, green, amber and blue) and a quantity of painted and stained glass. According to Rachel Seager Smith, senior archaeologist at Wessex Archaeology, the glass dates from from the 12th to the 15th centuries. The earliest datable pieces were geometric grisaille designs with stiff-leaf foliage motifs similar to those found some years earlier during an excavation at Wolvesey Palace, the Bishop of Winchester’s local residence. 14th- and 15th-century finds included fragments of blackletter inscriptions, architectural border designs, human faces, an animal face (probably a lion) and angels’ wings. Lead calmes were also recovered. [Fig. 1]

Hyde Abbey was a Benedictine monastery built in 1110 near the centre of Winchester to house the remains of the famous Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred the Great. It was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539.

Apart from the stained glass, other items in the exhibition include rare manuscripts, such as the abbey’s Liber Vitae which records the names of its abbots, monks and lay patrons together with the most comprehensive list of Anglo-Saxon saints in existence today, and the petition signed by the Abbot and other leading figures in 1530, asking the Pope to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Also on show are some superb Romanesque stone capitals from the abbey cloister and a copper-gilt crozier made in 1200–1250.

Admission is free. Opening times are: Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 7.00pm; Saturday: 9.00am – 5.00pm; Sunday: 10.00am – 4.00pm. For details of talks and other information see the Winchester Discovery Centre website.

See also the PDF of the exhibition catalogue.

Further Reading

For the Glass

  • Segal Smith, R., ‘Medieval Window Glass’, in Birbeck, V. and Moore, C., ‘Preservation and Investigation of Roman and Medieval Remains at Hyde Street, Winchester’, in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club Archaeological Society, 59 (Hampshire Studies 2004), pp. 103–105

For Hyde Abbey

Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hampshire, II, 1973, available from the British History Online website.

For Wessex Archaeology

See the Wessex Archaeology website.

Artists and Glass-painting in the 16th Century: A Study Afternoon at the University of York

Chloe Morgan reports

Last month’s study afternoon at the University of York on Artists and Glass-painting in the 16th Century (17 March 2010) was exceptionally well attended by both students and staff, as well as visiting scholars, members of the York Glaziers Trust and English Heritage. Papers by two leading European scholars explored the relationships between artists, craftsmen and patrons on the Continent, in particular South Germany and the Netherlands. A lively discussion followed, chaired by Dr Tim Ayers, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at the university, and Sarah Brown, the Course Director of the MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management. Overall, the event provided a fascinating insight into the shifting roles of stained glass on the Continent during one of the most theologically turbulent centuries in history. Organised by the Stained Glass Research School of the University, the event reflected the CVMA’s mission to bring together international scholars and to foster greater interaction between scholars and practitioners.

The first paper, entitled ‘Stained Glass in Nuremberg in the Time of Durer’ was given by Dr Hartmut Scholz of the CVMA Germany (Freiburg), Secretary of the International Corpus Vitrearum and a leading authority on the stained glass of South Germany. Dr Scholz used the unusually large number of vidimuses surviving in the area to explore shifting interactions between artists and craftsmen. He showed how the reuse of designs can inform an understanding of both workshop practice and the dissemination of specific images across a period of time. The second half of his talk focused on the famous series of 16th-century windows in Nuremburg’s Church of St Sebald. Tracing developments in windows designed for high status patrons, Dr Scholz explained how the city’s artists developed a particularly Renaissance style of monumental window.

Dr Scholz’s talk was followed by Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman’s lecture on ‘Painters and Glass Painters: Stained Glass in the Netherlands during the 16th century’. Dr van Ruyven-Zeman’s masterly survey charted the Netherlands’ ‘golden age’ of post-Reformation glass production. Driven by artists such as Hans von Kulmbach, Joachim Wtewael and Dirk and Wouter Crabeth, the creativity of the glass is a real revelation for UK scholars accustomed to associating the period with destruction and decline. Dr van Ruyven-Zeman used the glass at Sint Janskerk, Gouda, as a focal point for her talk, leading her audience through the different artists and styles employed there between c.1530 and 1603.

A post-event reception rounded off a memorable afternoon.

Stained Glass at the Reopened German National Museum in Nuremberg

Death on Horseback. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

Fig. 1. Death on Horseback. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

Important 16th-century stained glass panels are on show in the recently reopened Renaissance, Baroque and Enlightenment art galleries section of the Germanisches National Museum in Nuremberg.

Allegory of Time. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

Fig. 2. Allegory of Time. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

They include a trefoil window after a design by Albrecht Dürer, attributed to the workshop of Veit Hirsgovel the Elder, showing Death on Horseback Taking Aim at Provost Dr Sixtus Tucher, dated to 1502. Another beautiful panel is an Allegory of Time, probably painted by Lorenz Lingg, a Strasbourg-based artist, around 1600–1610. [Figs. 1 and 2]

Other treasurers displayed in the museum include paintings of the Emperors Charlemagne and Sigismund by Dürer, masterpieces by Lucas Cranach, Hans Baldung Grien and Albrecht Altdorfer, and the oldest surviving terrestrial globe, the Erdapfel (German: potato, lit. earth apple) produced by Martin Behaim in 1492. [Fig. 3]

The Emperors Charlemagne and Sigismund. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

Fig. 3. The Emperors Charlemagne and Sigismund. © Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

For more details about the new Galleries see the German National Museum website.


Thanks to Dr Christian Vogel for his help with this item.

Medieval Glazing in the Accounts of the Mercer’s Guild, London

The maidens’s head, St James the Less, Stonesfield.

Fig. 1. The maidens’s head, St James the Less, Stonesfield.

References to medieval glazing costs appear in a recently published two volume translation of the accounts of the wardens of the Mercers’ Guild between 1390/1 and 1463/4.

The Mercers were one of the most powerful livery companies in 15th-century London and took their name from the Latin merx, mercis, meaning wares or merchandise. Members specialised in exporting cloth and importing such luxury fabrics as silk, velvet, and linen, along with other valuable cargoes. They included Richard Whittington (c.1354–1423), immortalised as Dick Whittington, thrice mayor of London; the printer William Caxton (c.1415/1422–1492); and Sir John Gresham (1495–1556), the Tudor courtier and financier.

Some entries in the wardens’ accounts refer to window glass in a hall and a chapel maintained by the guild within the Hospital of St Thomas of Acon (anglicised Acre), a complex established in London’s Cheapside in 1190 on the site where the murdered archbishop, Thomas Becket, had been born. Initially entrusted to members of the military order which bore his name, the site was eventually transferred into the custody of the mayor and commonalty of the City of London. By 1407 the Mercers had both the use of a room ‘la sale del Mercerie’ in the complex and their own chapel, presumably in the Hospital church. From 1442 onwards the company made yearly payments to the Hospital for twenty-one priests to sing masses on behalf of deceased brothers and sisters. In 1449 the chapel was refurbished.

Other entries in the accounts which mention glazing costs concern the rebuilding of the City of London’s Guildhall and Guildhall Chapel in the first half of the 15th century. Work on the Guildhall began in 1411 and was virtually completed by 1430. Some of the windows in the Guildhall were glazed by the executors of Whittington’s estate in the 1420s.

Licence to rebuild the Guildhall chapel was approved in 1430 after complaints about its ruinous condition. Although a relatively small building, the project was dogged by delays and disputes. A major effort to complete the chapel was mounted in the mid-1440s when the Mercers, Butchers and Haberdashers donated windows.

The Accounts books list the following references to glaziers and glass among the Guild’s expenses:

1435–36 [Vol. I, p. 497]

*Item, for the repair of a window in our said chapel at St Thomas’s total – 2s 4d.

1443–44 [Vol. II, p. 595]

*Item, for repairing the glass window at St Thomas’s – 4d.

1447–48 [Vol. II, p. 642–643]

Under Fines:

*Item, from John Roo …………… from him, a remaining balance of his account, the which was a grant for making a window in the Guildhall chapel – £6.

+ John Roo was warden of the company 1445–46 and it was in that capacity that these monies were entrusted to him.

Also in the same year [Vol. II, p. 645]:

* Item, paid to the glazier for making the glass with a maiden’s head – 12 d.

‘The Maiden’s Head’ was, and remains, the badge of the company. A 16th-century example of the badge can be seen in s. II 2b at the parish church of St James the Less, Stonesfield, Oxfordshire. [Fig. 1]

1449–50 [Vol. II p. 674–675]

Under Chapel:

* Paid for two iron frames for the glass windows in the mercers’ chapel at St Thomas of Acon – 18d.

* Paid for setting the glass into the frames, and for repairs and cleaning of the said windows – 4s, 4d.

1451–52 [Vol. II, p. 713]

* Item, for a glass window in the Guildhall – £7 13s 4d.

1459–60 [Vol. II p. 885]

Under Extrinsic Expenditure:

* Firstly, they (the wardens. Ed.) declare money paid to Clampard for 16 upright bars and 34 iron cross-bars for the windows for the Hall at St Thomas’s called the Mercers’ Hall, weighing 1 ½ cwt, 21 1lb, at 1 ¾ d., total – 27s 6 ¾ d. Item, for making up of our own iron, over and above the other – 8d. Total – 28s, 2 ¾ d.

* Item, to Thomas Priour, mason, for seven days, for fixing in the said iron (bars), at 8 ½ d per day, total 4s 11 ½ d. Item, for plaster – 2d. – 5s, 1 ½ d.

* Item, for the insertion of the glass in our hall windows and for the repair of the same – 2s, 1 d.

* Item, from Brisbon for the fixing of the upright bars and cross-bars, and for 100 1lb. Of old lead from our properties – nil.

Extracts from: Jefferson, L. (ed. and trans.) The Medieval Account Books of the Mercers of London. An Edition and Translation, 2 vols. Burlington, VT and Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009.


Vidimus is extremely grateful to Jane Ruddell, Archivist and Curator of the Mercers’ Company, for her help with this item.

Further Reading

The glazing of the City of London Guildhall is described in: Barron, C., The Medieval Guildhall of London, Corporation of London, 1974, pp. 35–39. Information about St Thomas’ Hospital can be found in: Watney, J., Some Account of the Hospital of St Thomas of Acon in the Cheap, London and the Plate of the Mercers’ Company, London, 1906. (also available from the Internet Archive). This volume also includes references to windows in the north aisle of the Hospital church depicting the life and martyrdom of St Thomas Becket which were destroyed in the wake of the archbishop being declared a traitor: see pages 115–116. After the Reformation the Mercers acquired the complex. An entry in the Company’s accounts for 1542 records a gift of coloured glass to the church and the payment of £5 to John Colleye, Glazier, for glazing the north side of the church (see page 142). Sadly all the glass was destroyed in 1666 during the Great Fire of London. After wandering through the dusty streets in the aftermath of the inferno, Samuel Pepys’(1633–1703) recorded in his diary entry for 5 September: ‘Thence homeward having passed through Cheapside and Newgate market all burned… And took up (which I keep by me) a piece of glass of Mercer’s chapel in the street, where much more was, so melted and buckled with the heat of the fire, like parchment’.

Name that Roundel!

Name that Roundel!

Fig. 1. Name that Roundel!

This month’s puzzle shows an extremely well-painted battle scene. In the centre a crowned figure falls backwards from his horse. To the left, a banner displays two ragged staffs arranged as a saltire (X). It belongs to the famous Klaus Tiedemann collection. [Fig. 1]

The Dutch stained glass historian, Dr Kees Berserik, has dated the roundel to 1550–60 and attributed it to painters working in the northern Netherlands around Gouda in the circle of Wouter Crabeth (1510–1590).

Roundels of this period typically depict a range of subjects, including stories from the Old and New Testaments, the Lives of saints, and tales from ancient history and classical literature, such as Homer’s Odyssey.

Possible solutions can be found at the foot of this month’s Books section.



Friday 18 June: BSMGP Summer Lecture and Annual General Meeting, AGM 5pm, Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Glyn Davies (Research Fellow and Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum) – ‘Leading and Light Boxes:Conserving the Stained Glass in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries’. For more information see the BSMGP website.

Friday 15 October: BSMGP Autumn Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Tom Denny – ‘Recent windows in extraordinary buildings’. For more information see the BSMGP website.

Conferences/Study Events

Tuesday 20 April: BSMGP Discussion Day, 10.30–5.30. The day will focus particularly on the safe use of acid and on painting techniques. Speakers will include Chris Chesney – ‘Heavy metal, an acid trip and other useful drugs’ and Roy Coomber – Glass Painting Masterclass, at the Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1 (admission by ticket only). For more information contact the BSMGP.

Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 May, Stained Glass Museum study weekend in Merseyside. The tour will focus on Liverpool and its surrounding areas. The guides will be CVMA author Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes, author of CVMA volume The Medieval Stained Glass of Lancashire, and the distinguished stained glass artist Alfred Fisher, a native of Liverpool who trained in the studio of James Powell & Sons. The weekend will begin on Thursday afternoon with a visit to Port Sunlight to view the windows by 20th-century artist Ervin Bossanyi, as well as the Lady Lever Art Gallery which houses, among other exhibits, paintings by Sir John Millais and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Friday will take participants to both of Liverpool’s magnificent cathedrals to revel in 20th-century glass and to the Walker Art Gallery which will include a private visit to its wonderful collection of medieval glass (see Vidimus 2 ). On Saturday the party will visit the National Trust property of Speke Hall (1490–1612), richly endowed with armorial glass, and St Helen’s Church, Sefton, to see its medieval glass. Same-day visits to All Hallows Church, Allerton and Ullet Road Unitarian Church will also provide a feast for lovers of Burne Jones and William Morris windows. On Sunday participants will be free to explore the fascinating Museums and Galleries within walking distance of the hotel, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool and the International Slavery Museum.

Residential: £355 (£330 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Accommodation: Thursday – dinner; Friday – breakfast, lunch, dinner; Saturday – breakfast,dinner; Sunday – breakfast.

Non-residential: £225 (£200 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Thursday – dinner; Friday – lunch, dinner; Saturday – dinner.

Both Packages Include: Travel to all sites, guide-receiving headset and a conference pack with notes on sites to be visited For more information, including booking forms, see the Stained Glass Museum website or email:

Saturday 29 May: Day-long BSMGP Walk and Talk in Essex led by Nigel Swift. The itinerary includes visits to Rivenhall (12th-century French glass) and Margaretting (13th-century Jesse window). For more information contact:

Friday 11 June: ‘The Herkenrode Glass: the revival of Lichfield Cathedral’s Renaissance treasure’; Study day seminar at the Society of Antiquaries (London) (10.00am to 4.00pm): admission by ticket only. For details see the Society of Antiquaries website.

Tuesday 13 July: Charlotte Dikken, Medieval Memoria Online, Universiteit Utrecht, will lecture on The Jerusalem Church in Bruges and its Stained Glass Windows: A Monument to a Glorious Past and a Questionable Future at the 2010 Leeds Medieval Congress (12–15 July) For more information see the Leeds Medieval Congress website.

Saturday 17 July: Day-long BSMGP Walk and Talk in Northamptonshire led by Robin Fleet. The itinerary includes a visit to Lowick (14th-century glass). For more information contact:

Saturday 17 – 20 July: British Archaeological Association conference, Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in Newcastle and the county of Northumberland (together with the former county of Tyne and Wear). For more information see the British Archaeological Association website.

Tuesday 20 – Friday 23 July: The 27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium will include lectures by T. A. Heslop (University of East Anglia on ‘Pious Collaboration: Masons, Glaziers and their Patrons in Norfolk Churches, 1330–50’; David King (also UEA) on ‘Glass Painting in Late-Medieval Norwich: Continuity and Patronage’; and Professor Richard Marks (York University) on ‘Shedding light: the commissioning of windows in the late medieval parish church’. For more details see the Harlaxton website.

Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 September: BSMGP 2010 Annual Conference in Winchester and the New Forest. Delegates will visit the Cathedral, Winchester College and the Hospital of St Cross. Other highlights include a visit to the church of St John, at Rownhams, near Southampton, to see its spectacular collection of 15th – 17th-century roundels. The residential fee is £290 for members. For more information contact:

Wednesday 15 September: 2010 conference of the Stained Glass Group of the Institute of Conservation (ICON) at the Cripps Auditorium, Magdalene College, Cambridge. Speakers will discuss ‘Colleges, Parishes & Villas, Stained Glass Conservation in the South of England’ and include Martin Harrison, Prof. Joost Caen, Prof. Sebastian Strobl (Germany) and Elise Learner (France). Non-members are welcome. Lunch is included in the delegate fee of £78 for ICON members and students, £88 non-members. For further details and information about booking please contact Peter Campling at or phone 01603 891505.


From 15 May – 2 January 2011: Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes and Peasants at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. This is an exhibition of vessel glass. For more information see the Corning Museum website.

Until 23 May: The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, features 40 alabaster mourning figures from the tomb of John the Fearless (1371–1419), on loan from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon while the museum undergoes renovation. The exhibition is accompanied by a 128 page catalogue by Sophie Jugie. After closing in New York the exhibition will travel to six other museums in the USA before opening in Paris in 2012. For information about the New York exhibition see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Until 24 May: Paris, Ville rayonnante, Le XIIIe siècle, âge d’or de l’architecture et de la sculpture exhibition at the National Museum of the Middle Ages (The Cluny) in Paris. Although not about stained glass, the exhibition will explore the architecture of buildings well known to Vidimus readers such as the Saint-Chapelle and the Chapel of the Virgin at Saint-Germain-des-Pres. For more information see the exhibition website.

Until 29 May: Marc Chagall’s drawings for the windows of All Saints, Tudely as part of an exhibition devoted to images of the crucifixion by modern artists at the Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, Kent, see Vidimus 38.

Until 13 June: The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is a once-in-a-lifetime display of the 172 sumptuous illuminations from the medieval prayer book, one of the Museum’s great treasures, while it is temporarily unbound for conservation (and the preparation of a facsimile edition). For further information see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Until 3 July: Albrecht Durer: Virtuoso Printmaker, an exhibition of 45 prints from the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Until 4 July: Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. For more information see the Victoria & Albert Museum website.

From 1 June – 8 August: Old Testament Imagery in Medieval Christian Manuscripts at the Getty Centre, California, USA. For more information see the Getty Centrewebsite.

Comments are closed.