St Michael and All Angels Church, Middlewich www.middlewichparishchurch.org.uk
West Window Click to enlarge

The West window consists of 4 lights and 25 tracery lights(1).

The main lights are diamond-headed windows.


The Great West Window is in the decorated style. The curved tracery lights at the top are filled with blue and white flowers, and green leaves, on a red ground.


At the very top is a quatrefoil containing the ‘France’ family Coat of Arms ‘Argent on a Mount in Base a Hurst Proper, on a Chief Wavy Azure Three Fleures-de-lis Or(2)(5). In the top quadrant ‘A Mount Vert, Thereon a Hurst of Five Trees Proper, From the Centre Tree Pendant By a Strap Azure, An Escutcheon Gules, Charged With A Fleur-De-Lis Or’(3)(5). In the other three quarters are the Latin words, “Virtus semper viridis” (Virtue is always flourishing).


Taking up only about a third of the remaining height are four panels with scenes from Christ’s life

(a) The triumphal entry into Jerusalem

(b) Driving out the moneychangers from the Temple

(c) Washing the disciples feet

(d) Into the Garden of Gethsemane


The rest of the space, above and below is filled with patterns of quatrefoils within circles surrounded by leaves, and there are elaborate pointed headings to the panels and throne-like patterns beyond them.


The inscription at the foot of the window is:- “To the memory of James France of Everton in the county of Lancaster, died 21st July, 1795, this window is dedicated in loving remembrance by Thomas France France of Bostock”.


‘We know a little about Mr James France of Everton from an autobiography written by Thomas Fletcher of Liverpool (1766-1844) who worked with him in the late eighteenth century. France was a Liverpool merchant who imported sugar, rum and other commodities from the West Indies and known as a ‘Jamaica Merchant’. He had warehouses and offices near the docks – an area known as the ‘Goree Causway’ near George’s dock, on the corner of Brunswick Street and in Drury Lane. From about 1730 the merchants of Liverpool made huge profits from the slave trade.


James France by his will directed that his money be invested in land and so after his death his executors purchased ‘the estate of Bostock in Cheshire with a capital mansion upon it’ for the benefit of Thomas Hayhurst’(6).



Reference

(1) ‘lights’ are the main panels, ‘tracery lights’ are the small windows above the main panels.

(2) www.familytreesandcrests.com  

(3) A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain Volume 2 – John Burke

(4) Window descriptions from ‘The Story of the Windows at St Michaels and All Angels Church Middlewich’ by E.S.Bailey

(5) Heraldic Colours

a) Azure – Blue

b) Argent – White

c) Or – Gold

d) Vert – Green

e) Gules – Red

(6) Bostock – A History of a Village and its People – Jane McLellan and Tony Bostock.


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