Heraldry title
1. Although the church may not be so rich in heraldry as others in which famous people are remembered, there is still much of local historical interest; and the armorial glass in the East window is probably without peer in any other small English church. Furthermore, tombs and hatchments together record the deaths of the Lords of the Manor over 200 years, from 1666 to 1868.
2. This description covers five aspects of the church’s heraldry
  1. The East Window.
  2. Other Heraldic Glass.
  3. The Tombs.
  4. The Funeral Hatchments.
  5. The Royal Arms.
3. Throughout this account a family name in black will provide a popup referring to the blazon of the relevant arms.
4. I should like to pay tribute to the work of Mr. Tom Knight who, in the nineteen thirties, did much research into the history of Froyle, and whose notes have been of great assistance to me.

The East Window
The upper portion of the east window contains mainly armorial glass, and is thought to be contemporary with the building of the church. It is immediately apparent that all except one of the coats of arms represent members of the Royal family in the 14th Century, or families loosely connected with the Throne. The present arrangement of the glass (which has been altered at least twice in the past 150 years) is as follows, (see photograph and Appendix B):-
Top row Azure a cross patonce between four martlets or. These are the arms designed by the 13th Century heralds for Edward the ConfessorAzure a cross patonce between four martlets or. ; he himself would never have borne them, as heraldic arms did not come into general use until the first half of the 12th Century. As St. Edward was one of the patrons of England it is not unusual to find these arms in Ecclesiastical buildings.
Second row
  1. Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or. These arms are known as ‘England’ and were used without change on their own by the Kings of England from 1198 to 1340Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or.. They are still found in the present Royal Arms.
  2. ‘England’ with a label of five pieces azure. These arms were used by both Edward II and Edward III before their accession to the Throne.‘England’ with a label of five pieces azure.
Third row
  1. Azure a bend argent cotised between six lions rampant or.
    These are the arms of de Bohun.Azure a bend argent cotised between six lions rampant or. Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward I, in 1302; she was a widow at this time, having previously been married to John, Count of Holland & Zealand. Humphrey de Bonun was slain at Boroughbridge (1322) in arms against his king, as it means that the window must have been made before 1322.
  2. ‘England’.
  3. Checky or and azure. The arms of Warenne, Earls of Surrey.Checky or and azure. John de Warenne married Joan of Bar, a grand-daughter of Edward I in 1306.
Fourth row
  1. ‘England’.
  2. Azure semy of fleurs de lys or. These arms are known as “France ancient”;Azure semy of fleurs de lys or. and were borne by the French kings until about 1365. They were also borne by Margaret of France, second wife of Edward I, and by Isabella of France who married Edward II in 1308.
  3. Sable a lion passant crowned argent between six cross crosslets or. This coat is believed to be that of the family of Chastelon Sable a lion passant crowned argent between six cross crosslets or. and is the ‘odd man out’ in the window. The glass is not contemporary with the other glass; the Chastelon family had no connection with other people recorded in the window, nor do they appear to have had any local association.
  4. ‘England’ with a label of five pieces argent. These arms were borne by Thomas Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk,‘England’ with a label of five pieces argent. and son of Edward I by his second wife, Margaret of France.
Having identified the persons or families commemorated by the arms which have survived, one needs to try to find the reasons for their association and why they appear in the window at all. As will be seen from the notes at Appendix B the common factor is clearly descent from, or connection by marriage with, Edward I. All nine of the original shields, except that of the Confessor, can be so accounted for, and a guess hazarded as to the identity of the tenth, (the lost shield replaced by Chastelon).
In each of the panels the colour of the background is either blue or red, counter changing with the colour of the field of the arms borne thereon. Of the original nine shields five have red fields (England, the heir apparent, and Brotherton) on blue backgrounds, and four have blue fields (St. Edward, France, de Bohun, Warenne) on red backgrounds. Therefore, to conform with the probability of counter changing of colours throughout the window, it is likely that the original missing shield had a blue field (on a red background). Might this have been the arms of France repeated, for Queen Margaret the second wife of Edward I, who died in 1317?
This is indeed possible, for the Lordship of Alton Hundred was in the King’s hands, and descended with the manor of Alton Westbrook; at least from the time of Edward I who granted it first to his mother, Queen Eleanor, and then, in 1299, to Queen Margaret. Following her death in 1317, Edward II gave it to his half brother Edmund of Woodstock in 1319; Edmund was executed in 1330.
If indeed the missing shield were for Queen Margaret the window was probably made before 1317. At the same time, the use of silver stain to produce the yellow of some of the glass indicates a date after 1307. Furthermore, although it is likely that there was a previous church on the site, records suggest that the first incumbent of the present church was Walter de Berton in 1307.
If the above argument is accepted, then it is probable that the glass was placed in the church at same date between 1307 and 1317.
Another suggestion has been made that the missing shield might have been that of Edmund of Woodstock, to whom Edward II gave the Lordship of Alton Hundred in 1319. The argument against this is that his arms (England with a border argent) are borne on a red field which would break the strict counter changing of colours as explained above. If this were the solution, then one could date the window somewhat later, between 1307 and 1322, when de Bohun was killed at Borroughbridge in arms against his king.
The importance of the missing shield is considerable, but it does seem certain that the window commemorates the Lords of the Hundred of Alton with some of their relations living, and it may well have been a royal gift to the newly built church.
Finally, how were the shields originally arranged? Charles Winston, who visted the church on 18th December 1848, (see note below), refers to the glass as having been altered by Aubertin (see note below), but one is at least able to reconstruct a possible original

  Edward the Confessor  
Edward II   Queen Isabella
Prince Edward Queen Margaret Brotherton
or de Bohun
or Elizabeth
de Bohun
or Warenne
or Joan

  • These notes could not have been prepared without the great help given by Mr. John A. Goodall F.S.A.
  • Charles Winston pioneered the serious study of stained glass in England and his notebooks in the British Museum include quite a long account of the glass at Froyle (Add-M.S.33847 p.209 ff). A later reference (p250) deals unsatisfactorily with the arms and the relationship of the persons commemorated.
  • The Reverend Peter Aubertin and his wife were amateur glass painters living at Chipstead, Surrey; and, according to the Parish records, he was curate at Froyle from 1842 to 1862 under the Reverend Sir Thomas Miller.
  • Reference is made to the window in the Victoria County History of Hampshire but some statements are not to be relied upon.

The East Window - Relationships