Windows and brasses

Windows and Brasses

 Exodus 35:35
He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers,embroiderers in blue, purple
and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Stained Glass Windows

Nothing is known of any medieval Stained Glass Windows at Wonersh as all traces were destroyed in the restoration of 1793 when plain clear glass was placed in all windows. In the restoration of 1901 the architect envisaged that stained glass would reappear in the church, and this took place in 8 of the windows over the next 37 years. 

On the north wall of the nave is a window by James Powell and Sons which was the first window installed immediately after restoration in 1902. It was the gift of Frank?(or Richard??) Sparkes in memory of his father John. It depicts St John the Baptist (holding a lamb) with a scroll “Ecce Agnus Dei” (Behold the Lamb of God), with an insert showing him just about to be beheaded on the shores of the Dead Sea, with the inscription:-  "In memory of John Sparkes 1900".

Four of the windows are by Mr Archibald Nicholson, son of the architect Charles Nicholson who reordered the church in 1901, with another from his studio. 

The large east window in the chancel, behind the altar, dated 1915 is on the subject of the Te Deum. Reputed to be his best work, in Kempe style, mostly blue and red instead of his usual greenish tinge. The window was commissioned by Lady (Victoria) Ria Ponsonby and her sister Lady (Grace?) Blois in memory of their parents with the inscription “In memory of Edmund Hegan Kennard and Agnes his wife 1912”. They came to Great Tangley Manor in 1905. 

 6ee5861b733c5f59b6d354936c40d5The central light illustrates in three panels the verses :-

·  “when thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb” (“Tu ad liberandum sescepturus hohinem non horrursti Virginis uterum”). The nativity scene with Mary in blue, baby Jesus flanked by a shepherd with a lamb and one of three kings.

·  “when thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers” (“Tu devisto mortis aculeo aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum”). The crucified Christ, a serpent at his feet, with mother Mary and St John either side.

·  Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the father”  (“Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes in gloria Patris”). Christ enthroned, wearing a crown holding an orb. There are two angels kneeling on a pillow at his head and at his feet.


The side lights each have, at their head, the image of the Tree of Jesse flanked by two angels.

The top side lights represent six of the apostles – on the left John (Sanctus Johannus), James (Sanctus Jacobus) and Peter (Sanctus Petrus), the inscription in Roman lettering reads “Te gloriosus Apostolorum”; and on the right Andrew (Sanctus Andreas), Paul (Sanctus Paulus) and Thomas (Sanctus Thomas): the inscription reads “Laudat chorus”.

The middle side lights represent three martyrs – Saints Stephen (in blue Sanctus Stepanus), Agnes (in blue Sanctus Agnes) and Edmund (in red Sanctus Edmundus); and three prophets – Moses (in purple carrying the book of the law), Isaiah (in blue Isaius) and St John the Baptist (in red Sanctus Johannus Baptista): the inscription reads “Te Propherarum laudabilis laudat numerus”.

The lower side lights represent six representatives of the Holy Church throughout the world –

On the left Saints Martin (in blue Sanctus Martinus de Tours), Columba (in purple Sanctus Columba), the foremost Bishop who kneels in lowest left hand panel is George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand (in red & white G A Selwyn) (note Selwyn College is our Patron). The inscription reads “Te per orbem terrarum”.

On the right Saints Athanasius (in red Sanctus Athanasius), Augustine (in red Sanctus Augustinus), Bishop William of Wykeham (in red & white Cantuar Arch. Gilieluius de Wykeham”). The inscription reads “Sancta confitetur Ecclesia".


In the Lady Chapel there are three windows by Archibald Nicholson. 

 d19f32a23738c5f0b4b55e49370fdb The largest east window was the first he ever made in 1902. It was not only designed by him but also made through all its processes by his own hands. It is in three panels, the central panel being Christ (inscribed “To the Glory of God”) and on either side a depiction of two English soldier Saints, St George and St Alban, both of whom were reputed to be Roman soldiers of the third century. There are six figures in the top lights, the angelic outer two holding the badges of the Royal Field Artillery and the 4th Kings Own Regiment. 

The right hand panel is inscribed:-
In memory of Jack Hanwell
Major 35th Batt. Royal Field Artillery.
Killed in action near Ventersburg
October 30th 1900
Aged 38

The left hand panel is inscribed:-
In Memory of

Alfred Bayley Ridley
Capt. 4th Kings Own Regiment
Died 25th March 1898
Aged 38

The smaller window on the north wall of the north chapel depicts the Annunciation inscribed:-

  "Ave Gratia Plena Dominus Tecum Benedicia Tu In Mulieribus"  This window was the gift of
 in memory of her father mother and niece
RIP 1927


The window in the lancet window of the tower is of the Madonna and Child. A gift of the vicar Revd Philip Cunningham and his wife when he left the parish in 1906.

Deo Gratias and inscribed P&FGC 1898-1901. 



On the western end of the south wall of the nave is a window by Smith and Pawle erected in 1938, depicting the kneeling figure of John Randolph, who lived in Wonersh between 1909-28 when he was Bishop Suffragan of Guildford. It was a gift of family and friends. The cope in which he is seen was given to him by the fellowship and is still preserved and used. A scroll above his head reads “Judica me Domine”. It is inscribed:-

In memory of
John Hugh Granville Randolph DD
Bishop Suffrage of
Guildford 1909-1927
Dean of Salisbury
And of his wife
Beatrice Mary Hatfield 1862-1935
Who lived in Wonersh

The A K Nicholson Stained Glass Studios
G E R Smith (
35 Circus Rd
St John’s

The central nave window was designed by Rev Henry Henman and depicts the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. John is holding a staff with a scroll inscribed “Ecce, Agnus Dei”. It is inscribed:-

To the Glory of God this
Window was erected in memory of

Elihu Edmund Body MA Vicar
Of this Parish 1852-1892 by his widow
AD 1904

The window nearest the pulpit is clear glass with a small rectangular inset panel of 16th Century Austrian glass, “a fine specimen of rich colour”, given in 1933 by Beatrice Cook (who also set up Church Green Trust). It was purchased in 1928 in Zurich  where it had come from Castle Leopoldskron in Saltzburg. It is suggested that the coat of arms of foliage and pillars are something to do with the Hohenzollerns. It is inscribed:-

And God said
Let there be Light: and
 there was Light 

Dedicated to the Memory of
1862 - 1931


There are five brasses which can be found in the chancel. 

The oldest of these on the south side (beside the altar rail) commemorates Thomas Elyot and his wife Alicia (who was the daughter of William Calverdon.). He was Filacer (Keeper of the Files) for Surrey and Sussex, and Clerk of the Peace for Surrey who died 20th January 1467. The Elliotts lived in Green Place opposite the church, and when he died the house passed to his son Henry. Although he is said to have sold it and moved away to Busbridge Hall, the brass on the north (left) side of the chancel represents him, his wife Johanna and their 23 children: 12 sons and 11 daughters. We do not know his profession but he died on 2nd June 1503. Johanna is thought to have belonged to the Wintershull family, but the shields accompanying the brass are lost. These brasses were moved from the chancel to the south chapel in 1793/4 and then returned to their present position in 1901. The brasses read:-

Hic jacet Thomas Elyot de Wonersh, custos Filacii
Surr. Et Sussexiae in Banco Regis et Cl’cusoPasis
Com. Surr. Et Alicia uxor ejus, qui obit vicesimo
Die Januarii mensis anno D’no mill’mo CCC sexag-
Esimo septimo. 

Hic jacet Henricus Elyot Gen’osus et Johan’a
Uxor ejus, qui quidem Henricus obit secundo die Junii anno D’ni million VC III. Quorum
a’i’mabus pro-picietur Deus Amen.

Within the rails and inserted in the pavement in the north side of the chancel is a brass plate inscribed to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Blenerhayset, seneschal (steward) of the household of Thomas, second Duke of Norfolk, and one of his executors. His infant daughter died 11th January 1513. It is interesting to note that the Earl of Surrey led the army at the Battle of Flodden and subsequently was restored as Duke, but that this was after the burial of Elizabeth. The Earl owned the Manor of Bramley and it is probable that the Blenerhaysets did not live in Wonersh but moved between his Lordship's properties. The brass is not in its original location having been moved in the restoration of 1901.

Hic jacet Elisabetha una filiar’ Thomae Blen’hayset,
Seneschali Hospicii Serenissima Ducis Norff., qui
Obijt XI die Januarij, anno D’ni mdxiij cujus a’i’e
p’picietur De's. 

Here lies Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Blenerhayset, steward of the household of
his serene highness the Duke of Norfolk, who died 11th day of January AD 1513
on whose soul may God have mercy.

On the south side of the chancel is a brass marking the death 1578 of Elisabeth Bosseville, daughter of Henry Bosseville (possibly Clerk to Elizabeth I in 1580). Interestingly this is a palimpsest, believed to be Flemish and dating from the same century; however as the plate is fixed, the reverse cannot be seen.

Here lieth buried the body of  Elisabeth Boffeville,
daughter of Henry Boffeville Gentleman who died
the 9 daye of February 1578 being 27 dayes oulde 

The brass in the central aisle of the chancel is in memory of Algernon Leslie Brown sometime tutor of Selwyn College Cambridge and Vicar of the parish 1906-47. It was given by friends in 1951 and was designed by Rev Allan Wyon.

There was a sixth brass recorded by Manning, but this has disappeared; but there is a stone slab now in the floor underneath the tower which once had a brass female figure and a tablet which may be the one Manning saw.

Orate pro anima Emeline Hobbys, uxoris Andreae Hobbys
Armigeri, qui quidem Emelina obit die
Dominica XXXIII
Octobris anno Dni MCCCCLXXXVI cujus animae propicietur



Adjacent to the pulpit is a large painting depicting the Royal Achievement of Arms. It is marked GIII R, indicating the reign of George III (Mad King George). Many churches have this for one reason or another and as the Royal Arms have changed over time it is possible for a rough dating to be made. Wonersh has a Hanoverian example in the style used by the first three Georges until the Acts of Union (with Scotland) in 1801. It bears the white horse of the kingdom of Hanover and the French lilies. Thereafter the King of England gave up the title of King of France and the Fleur de Lys disappears. It is thought therefore that it was given sometime after the church rebuilding in 1793. 

The large paintings are all modern copies of famous religious works in the National Gallery. They were a gift in 1927 of the Executors of Lady Roberts-Austen. Three were painted by her brother Mr R H Aldrich:-

In the nave is the “Vision of St Helena” by Paolo Veronese, and the “Madonna of the Rocks” (the one featured in the Da Vinci Code!) by Leonardo da Vinci. In the Lady Chapel there is a “Virgin and Child” from Parmigiano’s Vision of St Jerome. A fourth work in the Lady Chapel dated 1895 by S Hemphill Vaughan, was a copy of “Virgin with St John the Baptist and St Mary Magdalene” by Mantegna

The church also contains four large diamond-shaped burial hatchments of the Grantley family, two placed high up on each side of the nave. For a long time it was the custom for a coat of arms belonging to an armigerous deceased person to be hung up outside their house during the period of mourning. This was known as a hatchment and in due course it was removed to the church. 

  • The first on the left (north) of the nave:-  In 1799 Grace, daughter of Fletcher Norton, first baron Grantley, married John Charles Wallop, third Earl of Portsmouth, thus becoming Countess of Portsmouth. She died in 1813 and is buried in the churchyard.
  • The second on the left:-  Thomas Brinsley, fourth baron Grantley, married in 1854 Maria Chiara Eliza Federigo of the island of Capri and died in 1877. As far as we know he never returned to England but his remains were returned to Wonersh for burial.
  • On the right (south) side are the arms of the second baron Grantley and of his wife. Both are nearly identical except for a minor variation showing that his wife was an heiress. William, second baron Grantley, married in 1791 Anna Margarita Midgeley, the daughter of Jonathan Midgeley of Beverley Yorkshire. She was just 17. She had two children both of whom died in infancy, and she died suddenly in 1795. William never remarried and died in 1822. The hatchment indicates that he was related to Washington, to which family George Washington the US President belonged. 

It is curious that no hatchment exists for Fletcher Norton, the first baron who died in 1789. This may give credence to the theory of a fire in which it may have been destroyed. There is also no hatchment for the third baron who died in 1875 and is buried in Wonersh. He is remembered in a magnificent stained glass window in Ripon Cathedral, erected in 1840.

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