Chancel Window (second from the East) by William Wailes, 1849

Memorial Window to Margaret Earle

This window is dedicated to the memory of Margaret Earle neé Bouchier. She inherited the advowson of the church as part of the Beningbrough estate from her uncle Ralph Bourchier. As both Mrs Earle’s sons had died young she chose to bequeath the estate to family friend and distant relation Reverend William Dawnay, who was serving in Sessay at the time.

The knot pattern which repeats around the border of the lights is known as a ‘Bourchier knot’ and is a heraldic badge for the family. The same design can be seen cut into the lawn outside Beningbrough Hall.

At the bottom left of the window is a hatchment - a distinctive rendering of a dead person’s arms containing various heraldic designs relating to Mrs Earle’s ancestors.

The shield in the centre shows the coat of arms of the Bourchier family - argent a cross engrailed gules between four water-bougets sable or red cross with serrated edges on a silver background with four black waterskins. The top dexter and bottom sinister quarters represent the Earle family whose coat of arms is gules (red) with escallops (scallop shells) within bordure engrailed argent (silver serrated border). We haven’t been able to identify the blazon in the other corners which features a griffin and three swords.

Next to the hatchment is the window’s dedication which can be translated from the Latin as ‘In memory of Margaret Earle who died 8th October 1827.’

At the very top of the window is a monogram – a combination of letters. It’s possible that this is a combination of an alpha and omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), a crown to symbolise the Kingdom of Heaven, and an icthus (the fish symbol used to represent Christ). However it is also possible that it is just an ‘M’ inside an ‘E’ for Margaret Earle and whoever requested the window was keen for the lady herself to be remembered in people’s prayers.

William Wailes (1806 - 1876)

The two windows on the south side of the Chancel are from the studio of William Wailes which operated in Newcastle-upon-Tyne between 1838 and 1914.

Wailes was originally a grocer and tea merchant. He made and fired small enamels in a homemade kiln and sold them in his shop. He studied stained glass design and production in Germany before setting up his own studio in 1838.

He produced designs for Pugin but the working relationship lasted only a few years. Pugin was known for going from studio to studio to find the cheapest rates. But Wailes was soon established in his own right – by 1851 he had 76 men working for him.

His style fitted in with the popular Gothic Revival of the time. He used bright colours and ornate foliate patterns. Work from his studio sometimes contains a monogram of his initials within a shield but it is not present in either of the windows at All Saints.