Today we said good-bye to the lovely Walsh family at Walton-on-Thames. It’s been a while since we last lived through the fun (and panic) of school homework, music practice and family games. Thanks, Kelly, Nathan, Jacob, Jordan and Madison – we miss you!
Sarah returned today from her quilting pilgrimage to Paducah, Kentucky, and we picked her up at Heathrow Airport in London, happy, exhausted, and suitcases filled with fabric and sewing goodies.
We stopped for lunch in Kimbolton, the home of Kimbolton Castle, which is where Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, died in 1536, of natural causes. As she was “The Princess Dowager” and not the queen, she was buried at Peterborough Cathedral with very little ceremony. Mind you, Anne Boleyn, who WAS the queen, was buried later the same year without any funeral at all.
Since it’s now used as a school, we could only see it from a distance.
So instead we took a look inside St. Andrew’s Church, right off the other end of the High Street, and found – the only Tiffany stained glass window in all of England!
The story (from one of the church ladies busy at work inside) is that a member of the local aristocracy had married an American woman in the 19th century, and they had twin girls. When the girls were about twelve, they both died – one from illness, and the other from an accidental drowning.
The grief-stricken mother ordered this Tiffany window to be made in New York City in 1901 as a memorial to her girls, who are depicted in the window being greeted by Jesus.
There is also one piece of very old glass left in this church. It was somehow overlooked when King Henry’s reformers smashed all the glass in the church during the Reformation.
I love old things, as you all know – but I prefer the beautiful Tiffany glass!
The other unusual feature of St. Andrew’s is an oak screen separating the chapel containing the Tiffany window from the rest of the church.
In 1937, the then-vicar discovered something bright red under four layers of dark brown paint. Careful removal showed 14th or 15th century painted panels. The first one shows the Virgin Mary being taught to read by her mother, then there’s St. Michael driving out the devil from heaven, King Edmund of Anglia who was killed by Vikings in 810, and Edward the Confessor, who died in 1066.
The colours have not been retouched, and really were this bright!
And, just a little tip – if you ever visit Kimbolton, the pub on the High Street serves a really nice Ploughman’s lunch, with home made pickles and bread to go with local cheese. As usual, DH says the beer is tasty too…