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

The Window was mostly remade 1828-1832 by David Evans of Evans and Betts of Shrewsbury. This was a major restoration at the cost of Ludlow Corporation which also saw much of the stonework rebuilt. The restoration was regarded as a very accurate copy of the original and was necessitated by decades of neglect complicated by a poor restoration in 1720. The drawings for the restoration have survived but no record was kept of which of the glass is original.

Nevertheless the design of the window is a masterpiece of medieval art. Excluding the tracery the window has 27 panels, with more than 300 figures, representing the life, miracles and martyrdom of St Laurence. It can be dated pretty accurately to 1445, the date of the rebuilding and the recorded date of neighburing windows. In addition Thomas Spofford, Bishop of Hereford, who is depicted and whose arms appear in the lower tracery, retired in 1448. The fact that he appears to be blessing the construction in the central panel which seems to indicate strongly that the window was made during his episcopacy.

The upper tracery depicts the Trinity with 12 angels and archangels. The lower tracery appears to be dedications connected with the rebulding of the Church. In the centre, pride of place goes to Thomas Spofford blessing the stone which bears his name, paired with his own personal saint St Anne teaching the Virgin Mary to read — the text on the scroll asks Anne to pray for him. On his right is a king possibly Edward the Confessor the supposed founder of the Palmers' Guild, which would explain, on the left, the presence of his patron saint St John the Baptist. On the extreme right is St Laurence, dedicatee of the Church with his gridiron and on the left the Virgin Mary dedicatee of the Lady Chapel. The arms borne by angels are Spofford and Neville — presumably Cicely Neville then Duchess of York.

The 27 main panels follow St Laurence's story in 'The Golden Legend' fairly closely with an inscription in Latin in each panel to leave us in no dounbt as to what it depicts.

Top row: 1. Laurence (L) is introduced to Pope Sixtus II; 2. L being ordained; 3. L receives the Emperor's treasure; 4. L distributes the treasure to the poor; 5. L taken prisoner; 6. L brought before the Emperor Decius; 7. the idols fall to bits in L's presence; 8. L is imprisoned; 9. L restores the sight of Lucillus.

Second row: 10. L converts Hyppolitus the gaoler; 11. L brings the poor to Decius; 12. Decius beats the poor in anger; 13. L despises the instruments of torture; 14. L is stoned; 15. L is beaten with rods; 16. L is beaten with clubs and trampled on; 17. L is scourged with whips with lead knobs; 18. L's body is torn with hooks.

Third row: 19. L is tortured with red-hot irons; 20. L is roasted on a grid-iron; 21. L about to be laid in his tomb; 22. the deacon breaks a chalice; 23. L causes dead wood to sprout; 24. L blesses bread and wine; 25; L presents a church built in his memory; 26. Three pilgrims praying in a church; 27. Workmen building a church.

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