CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL AND THE ROYAL WINDOW

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Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville.    Original 15th century stained glass panels.   Royal Window North West Transept Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral, of all the cathedrals I have managed to visit, remains firmly on my ‘favourites’ list. I lived there for a while many years ago, having been entranced by the city and cathedral on one visit. In those far off days as it was free to visit the Cathedral, which was very handy as money was in short supply, I spent many a happy lunchtime wandering about that wonderful place and grew familiar with its many interesting spots, such as where Thomas Becket was slain, where Cardinal Morton, Good King Richard’s nemesis, once lay buried, his grave now empty and the beautiful tomb of Edward the Black Prince. But my favourite spot was to stand and gaze up at the glorious windows, known as the Royal Windows, depicting Edward IV and his family. From their likenesses in those windows they all appeared to be very good looking, quite beautiful in the Queen’s case, and the people of that time who visited the Cathedral must have been proud of their handsome royal family. Of course it was to end tragically but that is covered elsewhere and so…. back to the windows..

Edward commissioned these windows, which were glazed by William Neve, about 1480, having been a frequent visitor to Canterbury. They were badly damaged in 1643 by an over zealous and obnoxious Puritan, Richard Culmer, who left a description of himself in the very act of destruction ‘on top of the citie ladder, neer 60 steps high, with a whole pike in his hand ratling down proud Becket’s glassy bones’.(1).  Later this odious man relieved himself in the Cathedral as he was too afraid to leave being in fear of the crowd  which had gathered outside and  was ready ‘to knock out his brains’(2 )

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