WESTCOTE BARTON STAINED GLASS
The east window is about kings, stories and legends, linking St Edward and St John.
The centre panel shows Christ the King, and in the small square beneath is a scene from St John’s Gospel (19:25-27) with Jesus on the cross, Mary on the left and John on the right, when Jesus says to Mary, "Woman behold your son…" and to John, "Behold your mother.” On the cross is the sign INRI - Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, Latin for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.
Westcote Barton church is dedicated to St Edward the Confessor, who was born in Islip between 1003 and 1005, son of Ethelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy. Edward was regarded as a pious and good king, and after his death people made pilgrimages to his grave, claiming healings. In 1161 he was canonised as saint (the only king to be canonised), gaining the name “Confessor” because he did not die as a martyr. A new shrine was built for his remains and his body was transferred on 13th October 1163. St Peter’s Church was demolished in 1245 by Henry III, who much admired St Edward, in order to build the present Westminster Abbey in his honour, and Edward’s body was translated to the new shrine in 1269, again on 13th October, which is kept as his Feast Day.
The church was originally dedicated to St Edmund, King of East Anglia, and was consecrated in the name of St Edward the Confessor in 1238.
There are four small south and north chancel windows made by the Reverend H. Usher, an amateur stainer and curate at Oddington, who also made the west window. The panels or quarries are in grisaille with floral designs and bright borders. They include pelicans (which sacrificially feed their young from the blood of their breasts), the Agnus Dei (the Lamb with the flag of resurrection), symbols of the Trinity, and HIS. There are also keys at the top of the north facing window, normally associated with St Peter.
The panel on the right is of St John the Evangelist; beneath him his symbol of the eagle representing revelation and divine inspiration, gazing on Christ as the eagle can gaze at the sun.
John is holding a chalice with a dragon coming out of it, a depiction from a legendary story about Aristomedes, priest of Diana in Ephesis, who challenged John to drink a cup of poison:
“If it does not harm you it means that your god is the true God”. John blessed the cup and “Satan flew like a dragon from it”, and he was able to drink of the cup with no harm. The story was made popular through a 13th century book Legenda Aurea (“Golden Legend”) by Jacobus de Voragine (1228-1298), Archbishop of Genoa, who compiled a collection of legendary lives of the greater saints of the medieval church. Translated into 5 languages, it was one of the most popular religious works of the Middle Ages.
The panel on the left is St Edward the Confessor, holding a sceptre and a ring, and beneath is his coat of arms, featuring the doves which were on his sceptre. The ring refers to a story towards the end of his life: King Edward was riding by a church dedicated to St John., where an old man asked him for alms. Not carrying any money, Edward gave him his ring. A few years later, when two pilgrims travelling in the Holy Land were stranded, they were helped by an old man. On learning that they were from England, he gave them the ring, and asked them to return it to Edward, to say it was from St John the Evangelist and that in six months Edward would join him in heaven.
At the top of the window are two angels swinging thuribles, one shaped like a church (presumably Westminster Abbey).
In the south aisle, in the window above the war memorial are two diamond-shaped quarries (from the French carré, square: a small pane of glass, usually diamond-shaped). One is of St Edward holding Westcote Barton Church and the other is the shield of St Edward. They were made by Harlequin Glass in Oxford, to commemorate the millennium. The design of St Edward was from a card drawn for fund-raising purposes when the floor was replaced in 1976 - artist unknown.
In the tower is a beautiful window of Old Testament “types”: an example of typology showing parallels between Old and New Testament stories.
The centre panel shows Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness for healing, with a New Testament reminder of Jesus lifted on the cross.
The panel on the left is of Isaac and Abraham, with Isaac bearing the wood, reminding us of Jesus bearing the cross.
The panel on the right is of Joseph at the well’s mouth, reflecting Jesus’ burial and resurrection.
The west window is in memory of Henrietta Seagrave, whose family was prominent in the life of WB church as Rectors and Patrons. On the framed list of Rectors and Patrons of the Parish of Westcote Barton near the vestry door, Henrietta is listed as Patron 1852-1921(?)
It was made in 1867 by Reverend Usher who also made the chancel windows.