The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin: the Windows

THE COWARD WINDOW –South Aisle (1910)

Coward Window (S AISLE)

Engraved Brass Plaque: To the glory of God and in loving memory of his Father, Mother, Brothers and Sister, and Ancestors interred in this Churchyard, who now rest in the sleep of peace, this window is erected by Peter Bancroft Coward of Brentwood, Rotherham, Solicitor.
October 1910

4 Main Lights

1. King David – crown, harp

David’s vow: “I will not suffer mine eyes to sleep nor mine eyelids to slumber, neither the temples of my head to take any rest until I find out a place for the Temple of the Lord”
Ps. 132: 4/5

2. King Solomon

At the dedication of the Temple Solomon prayed: Let thine eyes be open towards this House night and day, and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place and when thou hearest forgive.
1 Kings 8: 29&30

3. King Edward 1 – N.B. Sceptre of Peace, Orb, Sword of Righteousness

Edward 1, King of England, being in danger of shipwreck on his return from the Holy Land, made a vow that he would build a House to God’s honour, if saved from his present danger

4. John Chamneys

John Chamneys, first Abbot of Vale Royal, to whose Abbey in fulfilment of his vow King Edward granted the Advowson and the Castle of Weaverham

Top: Angels: Holy, Holy, Holy / Alleluia some angels have ‘Alleluia’ & some
have ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’

Above notes by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

TOWER WINDOW – West (1877)

Tower Window

Three lights

‘Sperandum substantia rerum’ Hebr 11: 1 (Blue Robe depicting Prayer and Devotion)
Cross – Bible (Word of God)
Translation: Fides = Faith
‘The Substance of things hoped for’
(or ‘faith gives substance to our hopes’)


‘Patiens est, Benigna est.’ 1 Cor 13: 4 (Red Robe depicting Love and Sacrifice)
N.B. Hands full!
Translation: Charitas = Charity
‘is patient, is kind’

‘Ad finem firmam retineamus’ (Green Robe for Life, Hope springs eternal)
Anchor (of the soul) also, a Bible
Hebr 6: 19
Translation: Spes = Hope
‘Let us keep our hope firm to the end’

Below ‘This window is the humble offering of Fred Johnson and Emma his wife to commemorate the restoration of the Church in the year 1877’

N.B. Quaint design

Above notes and translations from the Latin by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons
Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994 (transcribed by Weaverham History Society)



(Possibly by Wailes)

N.B. Architectural canopies formal, stylised, colours bright and simple with plain background. “A very beautiful and chaste performance!”
Towards E Window £25-0-6 (Church Restoration Account)

Five Main Lights (L R)

(Quill and book with each Evangelist)

Top: Matthew


Christ Ascending (Feet off ground, marks in palms of hands)


John (younger figure)

Below: Winged Man ‘humanity’

Winged Lion ‘courage’

Lamb and Standard

Winged Ox ‘strength’

Winged Eagle ‘wisdom’

1. Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature
2. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved
3. Look unto Me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, For I am God and there is none else.
4. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel
5. of peace and bring glad tidings of good things

Extreme Top: (2sides)

`I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live.’

Extreme Top: (2centres)

If you love me keep my commandments
As I have loved you, so do ye (Love one another)

Above notes by Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

William Wailes – 1808-1881

This window may be attributable to William Wailes who was born and grew up in Newcastle on Tyne, which, at the time, was a centre of glass and bottle manufacture. He set up shop as a grocer in Newcastle and later began firing decorative enamels which he sold in his shop. In 1830 he studied stained glass design and production in Germany under Mayer of Munich. In 1838 he set up a studio to design stained glass and started production of stained glass windows in 1841.

The famous architect Augustus Welby Pugin frequently used his work from 1842 until his own death in 1875.

William Wailes is responsible for many stained glass church and cathedral windows all over the country, one of the most notable being the west window in Gloucester Cathedral. His studios were not only responsible for the design and manufacture of new windows (often in new churches), but also for the restoration of Mediaeval stained glass (e.g. at York Minster). His firm grew until he eventually employed 76 people. Several of his designers, including Wilson Oliphant R.A. and George Joseph Baguley, went on to establish their own businesses. William Wailes was one of 25 stained glass manufacturers who exhibited at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace (1851).

His work is noted for its mediaeval styles and colours. It is often a little paler and more brightly coloured than that produced by other workshops at the time. Colour combinations include mauve lined with bright red, yellow lined with bright blue and red lined with acid green. His work is noted for its ornate foliate patterns. His figures have a classic style and form and are often staid or demure. The details of the faces are applied in such a way that they almost look as though they have been painted.

N.B. This window was put in by public subscription in 1854.
Although there is no stained glass from an earlier period in the church, Charles Bebbington claimed to have some small fragments of ‘old glass’ in his possession found in the East window during the restoration of 1854
Above notes by Weaverham History Society

DOUGLAS WINDOW – South Aisle 1877)


4 LIGHTS – Stylised, repetitive floral design
N.B. also floral patterns (14 panels)
(N.B. Translation from Latin in italics in brackets)

1. ELIZABETH – Vocabitur Joannes (He will be called John)

Below – Visitation (N.B. Elizabeth shown ‘in her old age’)
‘Ac Elizabethae Beckett eorum filia quae obiit XXVII die Februarii mensis Anno Domini MDCCCLXII (1862) Aetatis Anno XXXIV’.
(Also of Elizabeth Beckett their daughter who died 27th day of the month February in the year of Our Lord 1862, in the year of her age 34)

2. JOHN Ev. – ‘In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat verbum’
(John Evangelist ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God’)
Below – ? 2 disciples in boat (N.B. scale!) Jesus on shore + ? Peter *N.B. not John 21 (no stigmata).
‘In memoriam Johannis Douglas qui obiit XIV die Aprilis mensis Anno domini MDCCCLXII (1862) Aetatis anno LXII’
(In memory of John Douglas who died on the 14th day of the month of April in the year of Our Lord 1862 and in the year of his age 62)

3. Blessed Virgin Mary – (N.B. attitude of prayerful submission)

Below – Annunciation – Prayer Book – Lily –
‘Ac Mariae Douglas quae obiit XI die Novembris mensis
(Also of Mary Douglas who died on the 11th day of the month of November in the year of Our Lord 1863 and in the year of her age 70)

4. MARY MAGDALENE – hairdo, elaborate Robe, alabaster jar

Below – Nativity (N.B. shepherds)
‘AC Emmae Douglas Q.O. X die Junii mensis A.D. MDCCCXLVIII (1848) AET XIV. Ac Mariae Hannae Q.O. XXVIII die Jan. Mensis A.D. MDCCCXXXIV (1834) AET. II
(Also of Emma Douglas who died on the 10th day of the month June in the year of Our Lord 1848 in the year of her age 14. Also of Mary Hannah who died on the 28th day of the month January in the year of Our Lord 1834 in the year of her age 2)

(Sandiway) (Labourer – Joiner)
b. 1800 I b. 1793
d. 1862 I d. 1863
b.1827 I b. 1832 b. 1834
d. 1862 I d. 1834 d. 1848
**JOHN }Donor of Window
(baptised 16/5/1830) } + Architect.

*John Douglas joiner of Sandiway – (B.1800; D.1862). Church warden 1853

**John Douglas, architect, of Chester – (baptised 16/05/1830). He was the architect of the Restoration of the church in 1877.

(1911 – Letter)

Above notes & Translation from Latin by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

John Douglas (Architect) – 1829 -1911

John Douglas was born in Sandiway where his father was Lord of the Manor. Later in life, he, too, became Lord of the Manor. He studied architecture under Sharpe & Parry in Lancaster. Douglas originally worked in the Gothic style, but later developed his own style. He lived and worked in Chester for 56 years and designed churches, schools, houses and other buildings throughout Cheshire and North Wales. He was employed by the Duke of Westminster to design half timbered farmhouses for his Grosvenor Estate. He designed the St. Deinol’s Library at Hawarden which is a memorial to Gladstone. He was also responsible for St. Wedbergh Street, Chester. Douglas was the architect responsible for the restoration of this church in 1877, and donated this window in memory of his parents and sisters.

(Brief biographical notes by Weaverham History Society)

(39 years vicar)


4 Main Lights

1. ‘Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? 2 Samuel 12: 9 (Nathan & David)
(Crown and Harp)

2. ‘Rabbi I know that thou art a teacher come from God. For no man can do these miracles that thou doest.’ John 3: 2 (Nicodemus & Jesus)

3. ‘Woman why weepest thou? Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him.’ John 20: 13 (Mary Magdalene & Jesus)
(Crescent Moon and Garden)

4. ‘And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.’ Acts 4: 35
(Chest, Jug, Dish, Staff)

Above: Prophets Below: Evangelists
All have Quills & Scrolls
Have headwear Do not have headwear
Faces & Hairstyles
Extreme Top
‘A Deo et Rege’ ‘Dieu defend le droit’
(From God and King) (God, defender of the right)
N.B. Staves – Mitre and Crown

‘Charles Spencer Stanhope M.A. for 39 years Vicar of this Parish born October 14th 1795. Died October 29th 1874. The parishioners and others in loving and grateful memory of his pious labours have placed this window.’
Vicar 1835-74 1795-1874

N.B. Memorial to Spencer Stanhope children in Sanctuary-

MARY WILHEMINA d.26/4/50 aged 5yrs 8months
EMILY CAROLINE d. 11/5/50 aged 4yrs
ARTHUR COLLINGWOOD d. 20/5/43 aged 1year

Above notes & translation from Latin (in italics) by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

The Reverend Charles Spencer Stanhope, 1795-1874
Vicar of Weaverham, 1835-1874

The Rev. Stanhope was apparently a great character with a reputation for being a little eccentric as well as absent minded.

Prior to 1833 a band of minstrels playing wind and stringed instruments used to lead the singing from the minstrels’ gallery at the West end of the church. However, by the time Rev. Stanhope was vicar, the singing was led by a barrel organ and a choir. The leader, Mr. Bayley Bebbington acted as organist and choir master. The hymns had to be agreed in advance, but Rev. Stanhope would sometimes change his mind and announce a hymn not on the barrel organ, and which therefore, could not be played. Bayley Bebbington would then shout down from the gallery to announce the hymn which the organ would play and the choir would sing.

If the vicar thought the singing was too slow, he would shout “A bit quicker Bayley, a bit quicker!” whilst swinging his arms round as if turning the handle of the organ.

He used to write his sermons on loose sheets of paper. He frequently got them out of order, which, we are told, used to enliven his discourses.

When driving home from the station following his honeymoon, he was almost home before he realised that he had left his new wife on the platform.

The vicarage stables were quite large at the time, and the Rev Stanhope had a carriage and employed a coachman and footman as well as other servants. He was well respected and on his frequent, lengthy trips to London, the trains would be stopped, especially for his benefit, at Hartford.

The linenfold panelling behind the altar was brought from Aston Hall in 1854, but originally came from Norton Priory. When it was brought to the church, Rev. Stanhope wanted it to be fixed around his pulpit. However, Mr Smith Barry (Lord Barrymore’s father) and Mr Wilbraham would not allow this. It must have caused quite a stir, as Mr Roland Egerton Warburton, who was well known for his topical verses, wrote a verse about the vicar’s plans accusing him of Popery.

Above anecdotal notes by Weaverham History Society

LADY CHAPEL – North Window (1919)


‘Best glass in the Church’
Cf colours – restrained, subtle shadings 3D effect of canopies – wealth of detail, above and below. N.B. Detail in faces.
‘Dr Smith Window’ 

Tablet – ‘To the Glory of God’ & in thankful remembrance of Joseph William Smith, Surgeon, Justice of the Peace, County Councillor, (born 1844, died 1916 at Weaverham) this window was given by many friends.’ ‘He considered the poor and needy. Unwearied in labour. In friendship sincere.’

4 Main Lights. Theme of healing & service of God

1. ‘David Rex’ ‘He sent his word and healed them’ Ps 107: 20
(Crown & Sceptre, Monograms, Harp, Jewels, robes)

2. Angel Gabriel ‘Ave Maria, gratiae plena’ Luke 1: 28 }
(Hail Mary, full of grace) }
Peacock feathers in wings, fingers blessing, } Lights (2)
(dove = spirit) } & (3) } depict
3. Blessed Virgin Mary ‘Ecce, ancilla Domini’ Luke 1: 38 } Annunciation
(‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord’) }
(lilies, Prayer desk, clasps open, Face) }

4. St. Luke (doctor) ‘Sanctus Lucas Evangelista’
(‘Saint Luke the Evangelist’)
‘The power of the Lord was present to heal them’ Luke 5: 17
(Winged Ox, N.B. dear little face, ink-horn, quill, monogram, Face)

cf Shields below

1. Tower of David
2. City of God
3. Lily, Rose
4. Fons Signatus (Fons = Fountain or Font) – [Possibly the sign of the Cross
received at baptism]

Above notes & translation from Latin (italics in brackets) by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar of St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

N.B. Bottom LHS of 1st main light – Signature logo of C. E. Kempe & Co. Ltd. (black tower superimposed on the head of a wheatsheaf) – which explains why it is the best quality window in the church – see later notes.

Surgeon, Justice of the Peace & County Councillor

Like his father before him, Joseph Smith was a doctor and lived and practised in Ivy House. The road became known to the locals as Smith’s Lane or Doctor’s Lane. The official name, designated by the council, is now Smith’s Lane. He was still remembered in the middle of the 20th century with affection and pride. He was very considerate to the poor. He had a habit of not sending any bills until after death had occurred.

As well as being a country practitioner he was also a Magistrate and County Councillor. As such he was held in great esteem and occasionally feared, but also greatly loved.

Dr Smith used to drive around his large practice, which included Delamere, Little Leigh, Kelsall and Tarporley, in his gig. On Christmas Day 1907 he was presented with a ‘Motor Car with Accessories’ and an illuminated address by his grateful patients. A garage was also built adjacent to his house. Over 1200 people subscribed to this gift and over £850 was collected at a time when the average wage was £2.

Despite his many duties, Dr Smith enjoyed life. He leased the shooting in Owley Wood. His gamekeeper lived at Keeper’s Cottage, Wallerscote Rd.

Dr Smith was said to be a ladies’ man as well as having a great sense of humour. He would playfully ’scutch’ gossiping women with his whip as he drove through the village. He would frequently head a funeral cortege to the churchyard and boasted that he always “took his work home”.

When he was 72 he called to see a patient on his way home from a meeting. As he got into his car, he had a seizure. He died a few days later.

This window was paid for by public subscription.

C. E. Kempe & Co. Ltd

Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907) was an eminent Victorian stained glass artist and church decorator. He and his firm were responsible for windows in 27 cathedrals as well as the stained glass in the chancel of Sandringham Church in memory of King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra. According to Owen Chadwick in ‘Victorian Church’ (published 1970) ‘the art of stained glass reached its zenith, not with the aesthetic innovations of William Morris or Edward Burne-Jones, but in the Tractarian artist Charles Eamer Kempe.’

John William Lisle entered Kempe’s firm in 1886 and became his first draughtsman. After some time at the firm he began to collaborate with Kempe on designs and became his close friend and companion. Following Kempe’s death in 1916 the firm C. E. Kempe & Co. Ltd was formed and Lisle became a director and designer. Until his death in 1927 Lisle ensured that the firm carried on the tradition of the Kempe style.

The original logo signature of Charles E. Kempe was a trio of golden wheatsheaves on a red background with a wavy gold border (in the shape of a shield) in the top tracery of a window. In 1895 this was replaced by a single wheatsheaf in the bottom left hand corner of a stained glass window. Following Kempe’s death in 1907 a black tower was superimposed on the head of the wheatsheaf. For the last stained glass window produced by the firm (the last of the line) the tower was laid on its side.

The font signature of C. E. Kempe & Co. Ltd (a single golden wheatsheaf with a black tower superimposed on the head) can be seen at the bottom left of the first main light. It is necessary to stand in the north aisle of the church (not the chapel) in order to see it. The window in the Lady Chapel in memory of Dr Smith, dates from 1919 i.e. after Kempe’s death – as indicated by the signature font. It is a very fine example of stained glass.

Above information provided by Weaverham History Society

LADY CHAPEL – East Window (1873) (?1869)

LADY CHAPEL (east window) 1


4 Main Lights L  R

1. Healing – ‘I will, be thou clean’ Matthew 8:3 – leper

2. Healing – ‘According to your faith be it unto you’ Matthew 9:29
(Two Blind Men)

3. Parable – ‘I will arise and go to my father’ Luke 15:18
(Vegetables, Thistle)
N.B. Light in sky, dawn, Pigs, Nest

4. Parable – ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’ Luke 18:13
(Note expressions!)
N.B. Elaborate robes, Ring, Purse

N.B. more ornate canopies, (3D effect of shading & colouring as compared with the main east window where there is no shading). Elaborate backgrounds. Little shields in bottom left & right.

Top Note 2 sorts of stringed instrument. Angels.

Above notes by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar at St. Mary’s 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)

N.B. 3. The Parable of the Prodigal Son
4. The Parable of the Pharisee & the Publican (King James Bible uses term ‘publican’, NRSV
Version ‘tax collector’)

According to Charles Bebbington, this window was given in 1873 by Mr Heath of Hefferston Grange. At the time, this chapel was the family chapel of the Heath family and was known as ‘The Heath Chapel’. The Heath family crest can be seen at the bottom left of the 1st main light. The connection with the Heath family can also be seen in the monograms in the crest at the bottom right of the 4th main light.

Comments above – by Weaverham History Society

WILBRAHAM CHAPEL – East Window (1873) (?1869)



Five Main Lights

1. I was hungry and ye gave me meat (bread basket) }’Sheep & Goats’
}Matthew 25
2. Thirsty and ye gave me drink (water jug & bowl) } N.B.
} Architectural
3. A stranger, and ye took me in (staff) }background detail
}faces not so good
4. Naked and ye clothed me (cloak) }as those in the
}Lady Chapel & the
5. Sick and ye visited me (book, table etc) }Main East Window

‘Her children arise up and call her blessed.

Her husband also and he praiseth her.’ (Proverbs 31: 28)

*Two sorts of stringed instrument
– angels – N.B. blue tips to wings cp Lady Chapel

Wilbraham monograms and shields.
(GW G+AW) (cp Hatchment nearby)

Below window (brass)
‘To the memory of George Wilbraham Esq. for 10 years Member of Parliament for this County, and the Lady Anne his wife daughter of Hugh 1st Earl Fortescue. This window is dedicated by their son G.F.W. 1869.
GW born March 8th 1779 died 24 Jan1852
AW born Oct 3rd 1787 died 28 Feb 1864.’

Above notes by Rev. Geoffrey Parsons, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church 1975-1994
(transcribed by Weaverham History Society)
Produced by Weaverham History Society
Photography by Weaverham History Society

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