Visit Romsey - Visit Romsey Abbey

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Windows of Enlightenment

A project by Roy Romsey - Romsey Local History Society 

Tour the 24 beautiful stained glass windows at
Romsey Abbey, with descriptive text and quality images, an ideal 

guide for visitors and armchair travellers.

 View the windows details, colours and craftsmanship used to compliment the building's cream-coloured limestone from Binstead quarries.

The warm-coloured light cast by the windows enhance the abbey

with a sense of peace and calm. 

This imposing Norman Abbey served as a Benedictine nunnery until 1539, It was then purchased in 1544 by the townspeople of Romsey for £100.

​A new window for the 21st Century

 is being created by Hampshire artist Sophie Hacker

to commemorate the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale.  its installation in 2020 during celebrations of the abbey's 900th year, has been delayed. 

AD 1120 - Celebrating 900 Years of History - AD 2020
One of three high quality photographs of Alexander Gibbs windows at Romsey Abbey.

  Christ the Good Shepherd  

 & Suffer the little Children 

 

1: Alexander Gibbs - 1874 - North nave aisle.

This window will be seen on the left as you walk clockwise around the abbey. It was installed in 1874.

 

The window is designed by Alexander Gibbs (1831-1886) of Bedford Square and Bloomsbury London: it is one of three ‘Gibbs’ windows in Romsey Abbey.

 

The uppermost panel is of ‘Christ The Good Shepherd’ and the lower panel of ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’.

 

Alexander Gibbs was from a family of talented and prolific stained glass designers. Alexander started his own business in 1858, an enterprise that continued until 1915. His business soon became a close collaborator with the renowned Victorian Gothic British architect William Butterfield. 

Window Plan: No 1  Photo - P1160643 

Grid location:- G-D06-N5

Stained glass windows have been used in churches for over a 1,000 years,

often as a tool to illustrate biblical stories for a largely illiterate populace.

Whilst many decorative church windows were destroyed during the reformation period, stained glass windows became fashionable again in the 19th century with over 80,000 produced in the UK.

Location of windows

Abbey Window Plan  copy.png
Abbey floorplan .png

   Healing the Lame    

 The Good Samaritan 

    Healing the Blind   

2: Alexander Gibbs - 1874

North nave aisle.

 

This is the second Alexander Gibbs window encountered as you walk clock-wise around the abbey: it was also installed in 1874.

 

The three panels illustrate scenes from ‘Healing the lame’ - 'The Good Samaritan’ and ‘Healing the Blind Man’.

 

Windows by Alexander Gibbs are considered to be part  of the best work created during the Victorian period.

 

If you are tall enough, you may spot the Alexander Gibbs signature in the extreme bottom right corner.

 

Window Plan: No 2  -  Photo P1160640

Grid Location:- G-D07-N5

One of three high quality photographs of Alexander Gibbs windows at Romsey Abbey.
 A Francis Skeat stained glass window at Romsey Abbey in memory of Revd Canon Corban.

 St Swithun 

3: Francis Skeat - 1951

North transept.

 

On your left as you enter the north transept you come upon a mid-20th century window dedicated to the memory of Canon Corban, who was the vicar from 1925 until 1951.

There are nine shields illustrated; representing different aspects of his life.

 

St Swithun is the patron saint of the daughter church of the same name at the village of Crampmoor to the north of Romsey.

The window was installed in 1951 by Francis Skeat of St Albans; he created over 400 painted/stained glass windows.

Window Plan: No 3  - Photo P1160962

Grid Location:- G-CB09-W5

 Annunciation 

4: James Powell & Sons - 1901

North transept.

 

This stained glass window is the work of James Powell & Sons, installed in 1901.

 

It is in memory of Almaric Rumsey of Lincoln's Inn.

 

Almaric Rumsey (1825–99), was a mathematician, barrister-at-law and professor of Indian Jurisprudence at King’s College, London, specialising in Sunni Islamic family inheritance laws.

 

Above the window is a mosaic of two family coat of arms. The family connection with Romsey is traced back to Sir Walter de Romesey a knight from the  the 12th century.

 

Window Plan: No 4 -  Photo P1160629 

Grid Location:- G-B09-N5

One of many James Powell stained glass windows at Romsey Abbey
One of many high quality photographs of stained glass windows designed by James Powell, pictured here at Romsey Abbey in memory of Revd Edward Berthon - inventor, astrologer, boat builder and clergyman.

 Holy Family at Work 

5: James Powell & Sons - date 1902

North transept.

 

This engaging window by James Powell and Sons is in memory of the Revd E. L. Berthon 1813-1899, who was the Vicar of Romsey from 1860 until 1892.

 

   The Revd Berthon was an inventor, astronomer and boat builder whose business of boatbuilding used many of the skills of his workforce to undertake much needed and major restoration within the Abbey.

 

   The window depicts the Holy family at work in Nazareth, which aptly reflects his own lifetime of dedicated work for the church; it also illustrates some of his interests and is a very good likeness of the man.

 

   The window can be found in the North Transept.

 

Window Plan: No 5  - Photo P1160630

Grid Location:- G-B10-N5

 Angel of Music 

6: Alexander Gibbs - date ?

North transept.

 

Little is known of this lancet window called 'Angel of music'. It is hidden high up in the gables of the North Transept, above the clerestory.

 

Her blue halo offsets her serene face as she quietly strums the harp.

 

It has been said that it was 'probably placed there to commemorate the fact that the organ once stood on a gallery in this chapel'.

 

It is one of several windows by Alexander Gibbs.

 

Window Plan: No 6  - Photo P1160907

Grid Location:- C-B09-N

An illustration of the proposed Sophie Hacker stained glass window to comemmorate the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale
A detailed image of the the 'Angel of Music' stained glass window by Alexander Gibbs in the north transept of Romsey Abbey.

Proposed New Window

 The Calling 

7: Sophie Hacker - 2020

North choir aisle.

 

This illustration of a design by Sophie Hacker is for a window to commemorate the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910).

 

It is currently being created by Ms. Hacker of Winchester, Holy Well Glass of Wells and Salisbury Cathedral Glass.

 

It is due to be installed during 2020.

 

Window Plan: No 8  - Photo P1150868

Grid Location:- G-D14-N5

 The Pool of Bethesda 

8: James Powell & Sons - date ?

North choir aisle.

 

This beautifully detailed window by Pre-Raphaelite designer Henry Holiday was executed by James Powell & Sons. It illustrates the 'Healing of the bedridden'. 

 

It was installed in memory of Hon. Sybella Ashley who passed away following a prolonged illness in 1886 aged 40. 

 

According to a Bible story - John chapter 5 - Bethesda pool in Jerusalem was supposed to have healing powers after being stirred by an angel. 

 

The name comes from Aramaic beth hesda "house of mercy", or perhaps "place of flowing water". 

 

It is situated in the North Choir Aisle of the Abbey.

 

Window Plan: No 7  - Photo P1160908

Grid Location:- G-D13-N5

A beautiful image of the stained glass window located at Romsey Abbey, entitled ‘St Michael the Archangel’ and designed by Kempe.

 St Michael the Archangel 

9: Kempe - 1897

St George's Chapel. North choir aisle.

 

This is one of several Kempe windows to be found in the Abbey; it is of St Michael the Archangel killing the dragon - the devil.

 

It is surrounded by beautiful peacock feathers - a device sometimes used by Kempe instead of his insignia of a wheat-sheaf.

 

Interestingly, there are as many as 13 monograms of the Virgin Mary incorporated into the window - an M topped with a crown.

 

This memorial is dedicated to the memory of Jane Footner, (the wife of George Bright Footner), who died march 1895 and of her son Arthur who had passed away the previous month.

 

Window Plan: No 9  - Photo P1160989

Grid Location:- G-D15-E5

 Adoration of the Shepherds 

10: Clayton & Bell - 1879

St Mary's Chapel - East end.

 

This nativity window shows the Adoration of the Shepherds.

 

It was installed in 1884 in memory of George Bright Footner 1801 -1879.

 

The Footner family were significant in the town of Romsey as wine merchants, bankers and solicitors.

 

Clayton and Bell of Regent St, London, flourished from 1855 until 1993. At the time they designed this window, in the late 1800s, they employed a workforce of about 300.

 

Window Plan: No 10  - Photo P1160615

Grid Location: - G-E15-05

An 1870, three panel Clayton and Bell stained glass window at Romsey Abbey, entitled ‘The Crucifixion’ from 1870

 The Crucifixion 

11: Clayton & Bell - 1870

St Ethelflaeda's Chapel - East end.

 

This three panel window by Clayton and Bell is somewhat dark. It depicts the Crucifixion and is highly detailed.

 

It was one of their earliest commissions and was installed in St Ethelflaeda's Chapel in 1870.

This chapel is named after Romsey's third abbess, St Ethelflaeda; she was a daughter of Athelwold, a nobleman and close friend of King Edgar the Peaceful. 

 

Window Plan: No 11 - Photo P116063a

Grid Location:- G-F15-E5

Plan of Romsey Abbey with locations of its 24 stained glass windows.

 The Epiphany 

12: Kempe & Co - 1910

St Anne's Chapel - South choir aisle.

 

One of a pair of windows in memory of the Hon. Evelyn Ashley of Broadlands Romsey.

 

Kempe & Co installed the window in 1910 - note the exquisite detail.

 

Kempe windows were identified by a wheatsheaf motif: however, on the death of Charles Eamer Kempe (29 June 1837 – 29 April 1907) Walter Tower, a distant cousin, took over the company; he added a small tower into the wheatsheaf motif. 

 

Window Plan: No 12  - Photo P1160916

Grid Location:- G-G15-E5

A fine Kempe & Co stained glass window located in the St Anne's Chapel at Romsey Abbey, entitled 'The Epiphany'.
A finely detailed 1910 Kempe & Co stained glass window located in the south choir at Romsey Abbey, entitled 'Child Jesus in the Temple'.

 Salvation 

14: France, Unknown - 16th century

South choir aisle.

 

This 16th century French panel was rescued from the church of St Nicholas des Painteurs, Rouen when the church was demolished in 1840.

 

It depicts Salvation through: Charity, Prayer and Mankind.

 

It was donated to Romsey Abbey in 1975 in memory of Captain Charles Neill RAFVR by his wife Mrs Neill of Lee Park Farm.

 

A separate panel shows the crest of No 49 Squadron Bomber Command in which Capt Neill served during WWII.

 

Window Plan: No 14  - Photo P1170002

Grid Location:- G-G12-S5

 Child Jesus in the Temple 

 

13: Kempe & Co - 1910

South choir aisle.

 

This is the second of the pair of windows by Kempe & Co in memory of the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, 1836-1907.

 

Evelyn Ashley was a  Barrister, Liberal politician and grandfather of Lady Louis Mountbatten.

 

It shows Jesus as a child in the temple with eleven scribes in attendance.

 

Window Plan: No 13  - Photo P1170228

Grid Location:- G-G13-S5

A rare 16th century French stained glass window located in the south choir of Romsey Abbey with the title of 'Salvation'.

 Christ walking upon water 

15: James Powell & Sons - 1902

South transept.

 

This James Powell 1902 stained glass window is one of a pair in memory of Georgina Tollemache, 1822-1901, Baroness Mount Temple of Broadlands.

 

It show Christ walking upon water with three of his disciples who are catching fish.

 

The window is partially hidden by the canopy of a carved sepulchre below.

 

Window Plan: No 15  -  Photo P1160540

Grid Location:- G-J10-S5

 Christ Commisions Peter 

16: James Powell & Sons - 1902

South transept.

This James Powell 1902 stained glass window is the second of a pair of windows in memory of Georgiana Tollemache, 1822-1901, Baroness Mount Temple of Broadlands.

 

It was designed by Charles Hardgrave.

 

Window Plan: No 16 -  Photo P1160536

Grid Location:- G-J09-S5

A  1902 James Powell stained glass window in the south transept at Romsey Abbey, It bearing the title ‘Christ Commissioning Peter’ One of many high quality photographs of stained glass windows at Romsey Abbey.
An  1890s James Powell stained glass window, designed by Arthur Louis Duthie. Located in the south transept at Romsey Abbey. It bearing the title ‘The Way - The Light - The Truth’  In memory of Ralph Heneage Dutton 1821-1892.

 The Way - The Truth 

 The Light 

17: James Powell & Sons - date circa 1890s

South transept.

 

The window illustrates Christ on the road to Emmaus talking with two disciples and represents: The Way, The Light and The Truth.

 

It was designed by Arthur Louis Duthie and installed in the memory of Ralph Heneage Dutton 1821-1892, MP for South Hampshire 1857-1865.

 

The face of the figure on the right is modelled on the likeness of Ralph Dutton. - Duttons Road, leading from Romsey Railway station, is named after him.

 

Window Plan: No 17  -  Photo P1160960

Grid Location:- T-J09-S5

 Christ sharing Supper 

18: James Powell & Sons - date circa 1890s

South transept.

 

This is the second of a pair of stained glass windows installed in memory of the Hon. Ralph Heneage Dutton, 1821-1892.

 

The window, designed by Arthur Louis Duthi, is one of five by James Powell on the south wall and illustrates Christ sharing a meal with two of his disciples.

 

The face of the disciple on the right is that of Ralph Heneage.

 

The family lived at Timsbury Manor, just north of Romsey.

 

Window Plan: No 18  - Photo P1160636

Grid Location:- T-J09-S5

P1720194 a.jpg
Plan of Romsey Abbey with locations of its 24 stained glass windows.
An  1890s James Powell stained glass window, designed by Located in the south transept at Romsey Abbey. It bearing the title ‘Christ Arises’  In memory of Charles John Tylee.

 Christ Arises 

19: James Powell & Sons - date 189?

South transept.

 

This window, at the clerestory level in the South Transept, is the fifth in this area by the company of James Powell.

 

It is unusual in that it shows Christ appearing to the three Mary's Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas and Mary of James.

 

It is in memory of Charles John Tylee - one-time town clerk of Romsey and  a partner in Messrs Tylee and Mortimer, Solicitors.

 

Window Plan: No 19  -  Photo P1160914

Grid Location:- C-J09-S5

 Healing the Blind Man 

 at Bethsaida 

20: Franz Mayer - 1880

South nave aisle.

 

This fine window dates from 1880. It shows Jesus healing the Blind man at Bethesda; it is in memory of Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877) the youngest of five daughters of the Revd Gerard Noel - Vicar of Romsey from 1841 until 1849.

 

Caroline Noel, bedridden with a crippling disease for much of her life, is best known for her poems and composing of hymns; most notably "At the name of Jesus" published in 1861 with other verses for the sick and lonely.  

 

Both the Revd Noel and his daughter were renown for their writing of hymns. 

 

The German company of Franz Borgias Mayer of Munich crafted the window.

It is situated in the South nave aisle.

 

Window Plan: No 20  -  Photo P1170004 

Grid Location:- C-G05-S5

A brilliant 1880 stained glass window by the German artist Franz Mayer located in the south nave of Romsey Abbey. Installed in memory of Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877) daughter of the Revd Gerard Noel.
P1170094 a.jpg

 Presentation of Child Jesus 

21: James Powell & Sons - 1891

South nave aisle.

 

This window depicts two scenes. The upper one is of St Ann; believed to be the grandmother of Jesus.

 

The lower scene illustrates the Presentation of the child Jesus by Mary and Joseph.

 

This is another James Powell window, but designed in this instance by Rhead jr and installed in 1891.

 

Window Plan: No 21  - Photo P1160661

Grid Location:- G-G04-S5

 Annunciation 

22: Hugh Easton - circa 1950s

South nave aisle.

 

This is a window by the 20th century's leading stain glass artist Hugh Easton (1906-1965); his insignia of a weather vane pointing east can be seen in the bottom right hand corner.

 

It shows Mary and the Archangel, below which is Christ upon the stem and branches of a crucifix lily-of-life.   

 

Window Plan: No 22  -  Photo P1170015

Grid Location:- G-G04-S5

22 P1170015 copy.jpg

 Abraham and Isaac 

23: Ward & Hughes - 1878

South nave aisle.

 

This powerful scene shows a messenger from heaven stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac; he sacrifices the nearby ram instead. 

 

This is the only Ward & Hughes window in the abbey.

 

Window Plan: No 23  -  Photo P1170018

Grid Location:- G-G03-S5

 Former Great West Window 

24:  Clayton & Bell - 1865

The west end.

 

The central panel of this enormous three-panel window measures 39 ft X 5'7".  The original three stained glass windows were removed and put into storage following storm damage in 1961.

 

The upper portion of the three windows represented the highest idea of rule — the Lord Jesus Christ sitting on the throne of glory, surrounded by adoring saints and angels.

 

In the panels below were three subjects from the New Testament and various other elements.

 

It was a memorial to Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, of Broadlands (1784-1865) who served twice as prime minister during the height of Britain's imperial power.

 

It was not considered a good example of work by Clayton & Bell.

 

Window Plan: No 24  - Photo  P277277

Grid Location:- G-EF02- S

A rare imageof the 39 ft high former west window at Romsey Abbey, damaged and removed in 1961.
The first of two Great Eastern Windows by James Powell & Sons at Romsey Abbey dedicated to Lord Mount Temple.

 The Great Eastern Window 1  

25: James Powell & Sons - 1890

Retro choir.

 

This pair of three panel windows above the high altar were given in memory of William Cowper-Temple, later Lord Temple of Mount Temple, who died in 1888.

 

William Cowper-Temple was Lord Palmerston’s step-son from his marriage to Emily Lamb

 

The window was inspired by the Temple family name, and designed by Dutch artist Van Eyck. "Therefore are they before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple".  (Rev. 7:15) and "Ye are the temple of the living God".

 

"To the One who sits on the throne [on the left] and to the Lamb [on the right] be blessing and honour and glory and might".

 

Window Plan: No 25  -  Photo P1160972

Grid Location:- G-E14-E5

P1720100 a.jpg

 Detail from

The Great Eastern Window 1

25: James Powell & Sons - 1890

Retro choir.

 

A Detail from  the previous Great Eastern Window.

The window was inspired by the Temple family name, and designed by Dutch artist Van Eyck. 

 

"To the One who sits on the throne [on the left] and to the Lamb [on the right] be blessing and honour and glory and might".

 

Window Plan: No 25  -  Photo P1160972

Grid Location:- G-E14-E5

 The Great Eastern Window 2 

26: James Powell & Sons  - 1890

Retro choir.

 

Both windows above the high altar are very densely patterned, but while they let less light into the church, the stained glass itself is rich in colour and meaning. Both were given in memory of Palmerston’s step-son William Cowper-Temple 1811  - 1888, later Lord Temple of Mount Temple. 

 

This window complements the other; it shows Christ enthroned, as in this text from Revelation: "To the One who sits on the throne [on the left] and to the Lamb [on the right] be blessing and honour and glory and might". (5: 13).

 

Central to the right hand window is the Lamb with rays of light shining out from it. It depicts his mother’s maiden name. Lamb, with reference to Revelations 7: 17: "The lamb shall lead them into living fountains of waters".

 

The faces of those paying homage are said to represent Lord Mount Temple’s friends, including the Revd. E. L. Berthon, Vicar of Romsey at the time. Can you spot them?

 

Window Plan: No 26  -  Photo P1160977

Grid Location:- G-F14-E5

P1170073 a.jpg

Click a Photograph to

See the Exquisite Detail of Windows

With thanks and acknowledgements to Roy Hughes for web help, Alec Morley for reference recording, Jerome Champetier my technical guru,  Karen Anderson for proof-reading  and to the many sources of information consulted. 

Click any Photograph to

Continue your Tour & Discover More 

Graffiti

Browse a few of 1,000s of Graffiti inscribed by masons, vandals and soldiers.

Corbels

Discover why so many cats are carved into the stonework of the abbey?

Scuptures

View some of the beautiful sculptures within the abbey.

Crosses

Examine the crosses and how they are displayed around the abbey.

Capitals

Explore some of Decoratively carved capitals on the columns supporting the abbey.

 Memorials

Inspect some of the scores of memorial tablets dotted around Romsey Abbey

NB Text or photographs by Roy Romsey may be downloaded and reposted for personal use only when accompanied with an acknowledgement of source and authorship.

NB Text or photographs by 'Roy Romsey downloaded for commercial use require a licence to be obtained from  romseys@yahoo.com or

romsey.history@gmail.com

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© Roy Romsey Southampton UK..  Created 2019. romseys@yahoo.com

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