[MR] BBC: Canterbury Stained Glass

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 26 02:39:21 PST 2021

Noble Friends,

Today the BBC offers a lovely video story about Canterbury Cathedral,
particularly its stained glass. Back in 1987 Professor Madeline Caviness
suggested that the glass was far older than anyone thought. Her thesis was
based only on stylistic references, and there was then no way to prove the
age of the glass. Fast forward to today. Modern X-ray analysis has
proven that Professor Caviness was right. Canterbury's stained glass is
some of the oldest in the world. Still among the living, Professor Caviness
was delighted to be vindicated after all these years.

Here is the link to the video:

The Wikipedia page on Canterbury Cathedral makes only slight mention of its
stained glass treasures, but does have lovely photos and a long
history, including the odd factoid that the Cathedral has its own modern
police force: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral .

More on English stained glass in general is at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Gothic_stained_glass_windows .

Now, about the unfortunate Eilward of Westoning mentioned in the video, and
why is the execution of a common criminal on one of the windows. Eilward
was a 13th century Bedfordshire peasant who got into a drunken dispute with
his neighbor Fulk over a small debt. Eilward then broke into Fulk's house,
where he was apprehended stealing a whetstone and some gloves. After
flunking a trial by water (he must have floated instead of drowning, and in
the logic of the times was therefore guilty) he was convicted of theft and
housebreaking. Eilward was sentenced to a particularly brutal death. The
condemned man prayed to St. Thomas Becket before his execution. After being
blinded, mutilated and left for dead, Eilward was revived. Through the
Saint's supposed intervention, all his wounds were healed, including
restoration of his missing . . . uh . . . manhood. Make what you will of
this story, but that's how a thief came to be depicted in a cathedral

Here is a somewhat wordy 19th century version of Eilward's miracle,
including some interesting observations about English drinking habits:

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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