Ludlow Palmers
helping to conserve the fabric and treasures of St Laurence's
The Palmers' Window

The Palmers' window dates from the period of the C15 rebuilding of the Church. It shows us a religious guild taking liberties with history to exploit a legend.

Here is the legend: King Edward the Confessor was a weak king, but a saintly man. One day a beggar asked him for alms and Edward gave him his ring. The beggar, was St John the Evangelist in disguise. Later St John met two pilgrims in the Holy Land. He gave them the ring, asking them to return it to the King and to tell him that, within six months, they would meet in heaven. The pilgrims returned the ring to Edward and, as foretold, he died within 6 months, in 1066.

The Palmers were indeed pilgrims, and they returned from the Holy Land with a palm frond as proof of their visit. But our Palmers were definitely not there in 1066 as the Palmers' Guild was not founded until 1284. Nevertheless, the legend became part of the Palmers' and Ludlow's story.

The glass in the upper tracery show the arms of Edward the Confessor, those of Ludlow and pennons with coins.

The top four main panels recount the legend. Two Palmers set sail for the Holy Land, they wear the blue robes of the Guild and pilgrim hats; the King meets the beggar; the pilgrims meet St John and lastly restore the ring to the King.

The bottom four panels show the Palmers in a religious procession, receiving the Guild's charter from the King, being welcomed home and sharing a feast to the sound of the harp. The white greyhound in the last panel is a reference to Richard Neville ‘Warwick the Kingmaker’, who joined forces with Richard Plantagenet, the father of Edward IV and Richard III, in Ludlow in 1455 on the eve of the first War of the Roses.

The last four panels show the importance of the Guild in Ludlow and its glorious and ancient past and, in the fifteenth century were extremely prestigious with rich ceremonial and a high public profile. But the window also has a spiritual message — to encourage people to pray for both the living and the dead, it speaks of peace and harmony in this world and the next.

« back to St John's Chapel « back to Windows « back to Tour of St Laurence's