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A Glazing Scheme for Archbishop John Stafford

  • KATE HEARD (a1)

This article examines a document among William Worcester's papers at the British Library. It is argued that the document, a selective list of archbishops of Canterbury and bishops of Bath and Wells, was intended to form the basis for a glazing scheme to be commissioned by John Stafford, archbishop of Canterbury. It is suggested that this may have been intended for Croydon Palace in Surrey. An analysis of the list provides information not only about Stafford's interests in this commission but his artistic patronage in general. The document is set alongside the commissions of Stafford's episcopal contemporaries to draw wider conclusions about episcopal patronage of the visual arts in the fifteenth century.

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1 This paper has grown out of the author's thesis, ‘Episcopal patronage of the visual arts in England’, unpubl. PhD diss. Cambridge 2004, which discusses these issues in greater detail.

2 BL, ms Royal 13 C I, fos 42v, 51, 51v.

3 For Worcester see Orme, N., ‘Worcester [Botoner], William’, ODNB, 294–5; K. B. McFarlane, ‘William Worcester, a preliminary survey’, in J. Conway Davies (ed.), Studies presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson, London 1957, 196–221; and William Worcestre, Itineraries, ed. J. H. Harvey, Oxford 1969. C. Richmond, The Paston family in the fifteenth century: Paston's will, Cambridge 1996, esp. pp. 53–106, discusses the relationship between Worcester and Fastolf.

4 Orme, ‘Worcester, William’, 295.

5 Worcestre, Itineraries, for example pp. 42–3, 54–5.

6 Ibid. for example pp. 106–7, 380–97.

7 One section of the manuscript is printed and discussed in Clarke, M. V. and Galbraith, V. H., ‘The deposition of Richard ii’, John Rylands Library Bulletin xiv (1930), 147–8. See also McFarlane, ‘William Worcester’, 212–13.

8 A. Gransden, Historical writing in England, c. 1307 to the early sixteenth century, London 1982, 339–441; Worcestre, Itineraries, 78–9. Richard Vowell was Steward and Master of the Borough of Wells in 1473, 1477, 1483, 1486 and 1492: D. G. Shaw, The creation of a community: the city of Wells in the Middle Ages, Oxford 1993, 293.

9 The current binding is dated 1757 on the front board.

10 ms Royal 13 C I, fo. 51v.

11 Ibid. For the definition of ‘dais’ as lights see L. F. Salzman, Building in England down to 1540: a documentary history, rev. edn, Oxford 1992, 93–4.

12 Davies, R. G., ‘Stafford, John’, ODNB, 55–7. For Stafford's biography see Notes and Queries, 25 Mar. 1871, 253; W. F. Hook, Lives of the archbishops of Canterbury, London 1867, v. 130–87; and E. F. Jacob, Essays in later medieval history, Manchester 1968, 35–57.

13 For Chichele see E. F. Jacob, Archbishop Henry Chichele, London 1967.

14 Stafford is the subject of two contemporary encomia, however, one by Tito Livio dei Frulovisi, printed in Opera hactenus inedita T. Livii de Frulovisiis de Ferraria, ed. C. Previté Orton, Cambridge 1932, 390–2; the other contained in Bodleian Library, Oxford, ms Tanner 198, fos 1ff. (cited by A. B. Emden, A biographical register of the University of Oxford to 1500, Oxford 1957–9, iii. 1752).

15 Jacob, Essays in later medieval history, 35–6, explains Stafford's complicated origins. See also Davies, ‘Stafford, John’, 55–6.

16 Emden, Biographical register of Oxford, iii. 1751.

17 For Stafford's tomb at Canterbury see C. Wilson, ‘The medieval monuments’, in P. Collinson, N. Ramsey and M. Sparks (eds), A history of Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury 1995, 451–510, at p. 481.

18 Emden, Biographical register of Oxford, iii. 1751.

19 Davies, ‘Stafford, John’, 55.

20 Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VI, II: (1429–1436), London 1907, 63 (28 Sept. 1429); Davies, ‘Stafford, John’, 55–6. Stafford is found acting with Humphrey Stafford again in November 1430 and July 1437. He would act as his half-brother's main executor in 1443: Jacob, Essays in later medieval history, 36.

21 The source for the Canterbury list has not been identified. It is not, as might be expected, William of Malmesbury's De gesta pontificum since it contains a number of biographical facts not available in that volume, among them Archbishop Berewald's previous position as abbot of Reculver and Archbishop Alphege's holding of the bishopric of Bath.

22 Robinson, J. Armitage, ‘The Historia minor and the Historia major, from the Wells Liber Albus II’, Collectanea I (Somerset Record Society xxxix, 1924), 4871.

23 Ibid. 48.

24 Joseph Hunter has suggested that the Historia major was the work of Thomas Chaundler, but there is no evidence to corroborate this: Ecclesiastical documents, London 1840, 4.

25 The text for Athelm, on fo. 51 of the Stafford document, for example, reads:‘ s(an)c(t)us Adelm(us) vel Athelm(us) p(ri)m(us) e(pisco)pus Wellen(sis) ∧postea archiep(iscopus) Cant(uariensis) ∧ cum tot(o) pag(o) Som(er)setie t(empo)re reg(is) Edward(i) p(ri)m(i) et dioces(a)n(us) fu(i)t assignat(us) p(rius) abbas Glastonie’. That in the Historia major reads: ‘Adelmum, prius abbatem Glastonie, qui ab eodem archiepiscopo primus in episcopum Wellensem extitit ordinatus, et totus pagus Somersetie fuit sibi in diocesim assignatus. Et sic clare patet quod Somersetia tempore hujus regis Edwardi primi ante conquestum Normannorum, videlicet anno domini nongentesimo quinto, proprium primo recepit episcopum, que prius sub episcopatu Schirburnensi fuerat constituta. … Huic Adelmo primo Wellensi episcopo post Plegmundum ad sedem Cantuariensem translato successit in sede episcopali Wellensi Wylfelmus secundus Wellensis episcopus’ (author's italics): Armitage Robinson, ‘The Historia minor and the Historia major’, 58–9.

26 The register of John Stafford, bishop of Bath and Wells, 1425–1443, ed. T. S. Holmes, i, London 1915, pp. xxxviii, xlii.

27 Frulovisi, Opera, 390–2. For Frulovisi see The first English life of King Henry the fifth, ed. C. L. Kingsford, Oxford 1911, pp. xiv–xv, and Orton, C. W. Previté, ‘The earlier career of Titus Livius Frulovisiis’, EHR xxx (1915), 74–8.

28 John Paston ii to John Paston iii, 30 Apr. 1472, in Paston letters and papers of the fifteenth century, ed. N. Davis, Oxford 1971, i, no. 268, pp. 448–9.

29 T. Tatton-Brown, Lambeth Palace: a history of the archbishops of Canterbury and their houses, London 2000, 56, discusses Stafford's building of Croydon. See also J. M. Hobson, ‘Some notes on the Old Palace of the archbishops of Canterbury at Croydon’, The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist (Oct. 1909), 225–39, esp. p. 233. Unfortunately, there is no evidence of Stafford's work at Croydon in his register and no estate account rolls survive for his archiepiscopate.

30 I am grateful to Tim Tatton-Brown for this information.

31 L. Thornhill, ‘From palace to washhouse’, Proceedings of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society xvii/9 (June 1987), 209–48, esp. p. 217. The window is depicted, blocked up, in A. Pugin, Examples of Gothic architecture, i, London 1831, facing p. 27.

32 ms Royal 13 C I, fo. 51.

33 Thornhill, ‘From palace to washhouse’, 211–14.

34 Anon., History of the old palace Croydon, London 1892, 18.

35 J. Lambert, after N. Whittock, Interior of Croydon palace, Surrey, 1829.

36 Most recently published in R. Marks and P. Williamson, Gothic: art for England, 1400–1547, exhibition catalogue, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2003, cat. 295, from which the information in this paragraph is largely taken. The identification of Wolsey as the patron of the window is suggested by the presence of St William of York and St Thomas of Canterbury in the flanking lower lights: ibid; Wayment, H., ‘Twenty-four vidimuses for Cardinal Wolsey’, Master Drawings xxiii–xxiv/4 (1986), 503–16 at p. 507. I am grateful to the anonymous reader for this Journal, who suggested this comparison.

37 K. Harrison, The windows of King's College Chapel Cambridge: notes on their history and design, Cambridge 1952, 63–4. Harrison cites the opinion of Arthur Oswald on this matter. Hilary Wayment argues that they cannot have been designed for either Hampton Court or Cardinal College, Oxford, Wolsey's other two projects, on a scale large enough to accommodate a thirteen-light window: ‘Twenty-four vidimuses’, 506–7.

38 Wayment points out that the same hand has annotated a set of vidimuses, also for Cardinal Wolsey, in Brussels, and argues through comparison with contracts at King's College, Cambridge, that the writer is James Nicholson, a glazier employed by Wolsey on a number of his projects: ‘Twenty-four vidimuses’, 510. Samantha Lagneau in Timothy Clifford, Designs of desire: architectural and ornament prints and drawings, 1500–1850, exhibition catalogue, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 1999, 36, doubts that the annotations are by the artist of the drawing.

39 M. Caviness, The windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury (Corpus Vitrearum Great Britain), ii, London 1981, 252–67, esp. p. 261 where the window is attributed to Bourgchier's patronage.

40 P. Binski, Becket's crown: art and imagination in Gothic England, 1170–1300, New Haven–London 2004, 105–6; P. Lindley, ‘Retrospective effigies, the past and lies’, in D. Whitehead (ed.), Medieval art, architecture and archaeology at Hereford, Leeds 1995, 111–21. Lindley discusses a number of these episcopal sequences. The dating of the Wells effigies is considered in Reeve, M. M., ‘The retrospective effigies of Anglo-Saxon bishops at Wells Cathedral: a reassessment’, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History cxlii (1998), 235–59.

41 The glass at All Souls College is discussed in F. E. Hutchinson, Medieval glass at All Souls College, London 1949, and in R. Marks, Stained glass in England during the Middle Ages, London 1993, 99–101. H. Colvin and J. S. G. Simmons, All Souls: an Oxford college and its buildings: the Chichele lectures 1986, Oxford 1989, considers the foundation. For Chichele's promotion of Stafford see Jacob, Essays in later medieval history, 35. Stafford had some involvement with the All Souls foundation during his archbishopric: Colvin and Simmons, All Souls, 13.

42 For a consideration of another programmatic set of images which state and define authority see P. Binski, ‘Hierarchies and orders in English royal images of power’, in J. Denton (ed.), Orders and hierarchies in late medieval and renaissance Europe, Basingstoke 1999, 74–93.

43 M. C. Miller, The bishop's palace: architecture and authority in medieval Italy, Ithaca–London 2000, esp. p. 182 where the term ‘genealogy’ is used to describe such schemes. A later example of a visual episcopal genealogy is provided by the painted panels commissioned by Bishop Robert Sherburne (1508–36) for Chichester Cathedral. Richard Marks considers the evidence for domestic glazing schemes in his Stained glass, 92–102. For an extremely interesting analysis of the decoration of a set of medieval halls see Dixon-Smith, S., ‘The image and reality of alms-giving in the great halls of Henry iii’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association clii (1999), 7996.

44 Marks, Stained glass, 97.

45 Ralph Churton, The lives of William Smyth, bishop of Lincoln, and Sir Richard Sutton, knight, founders of Brasen Nose College; chiefly compiled from registers and other authentic evidences: with an appendix of letters and papers never before printed, Oxford 1800, 219–21; Russell, J. C., ‘Richard of Bardney's account of Robert Grosseteste's early and middle life’, Medievalia et Humanistica ii (1944), 4554.

46 Seal collection, Society of Antiquaries, London, drawer C19; W. de G. Birch, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, London 1887, i, no. 1757.

47 Bede's Ecclesiastical history of the English people, ed. B. Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors, Oxford 1969, 232.

48 The other episcopal example from the period 1450–1550 can be found on the seal of Reginald Boulers (bishop of Coventry and Lichfield). Just as Stafford emphasised his relationship to a noble family, so Boulers claimed a noble connection to the Butler earls of Ormond. A. T. Bannister has suggested that this connection may be a spurious one: Registrum Reginaldi Boulers episcopi herefordensis, mccccl-mccccliii, ed. A. T. Bannister, London 1919, p. iin.

49 The menus for these feasts are printed in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. ed. T. Austin, Oxford 1888, 62–3 (Bath and Wells), 68–9 (Canterbury).

50 Subtleties are discussed in C. M. Woolgar, The great household in late medieval England, New Haven–London 1999, 158–60.

51 J. E. Jackson (ed.), Wiltshire: the topographical collections of John Aubrey, FRS, 1659–70, Devizes 1862, 348.

52 Ibid. By the time Aubrey visited, the only words surviving from the inscription were ‘hujus capelle’ and ‘Archiepi Cantuar’.

53 Stafford was the third archbishop to be buried in this location, following Pecham (d.1292) and Offord (d.1349), both of whom were also called John. His four immediate successors also chose this location, as did Priors Sellyng (d.1494) and Goldstone (d.1517). On archiepiscopal burials at Canterbury see Wilson, ‘Medieval monuments’, 453–89.

* The first eleven entries are linked with a bracket and annotated ‘monach(i) habitum’.

The entries for Athelm and Wulfelm are joined with a bracket and annotated ‘Wellensis’.

An error for ‘Wilton(iensis)’.

I would like to thank Dr Tim Ayers, Dr Lucy Donkin, Dr Rupert Shepherd, Sabrina Shim, Tim Tatton-Brown and the anonymous reader for this Journal for their help during the preparation of this paper. I am extremely grateful to Dr Trevor Evans and his colleagues at the Oxford Medieval Latin Dictionary who provided extensive help with the transcription of the document provided in the Appendix. Any errors which remain in the transcription, or the article itself, are, of course, the author's alone.

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