THE BCH ARCHIVE
LOCAL HISTORY FOR
And The Surrounding District
Magnificent Medieval Stained Glass Fragments at Birtsmorton Church
The exquisite glass fragments originate from around 1400 AD. They are the remains of a donor window given to the Church by Eliabeth Ruyhall, widow of Richard Ruyhall of Birtsmorton Court.
Richard is depicted on his knees praying to the Virgin Mary to intercede for him.
Because his position as lawyer to the Earls of Warwick involved him in many dodgy deals he hopes that prayers and a donation of a window might lessen his time in purgatory.
This particular image is the only proof that the Italio- German hinged klappvisier ever reached England. This is a type of visor which opens and closes on a single hinge, located centrally over the brow.
Down the centuries there have always been strong connections between the Church and the family who live in Birtsmorton Court.
Particularly the Nanfan family.
Inside the Church there are two notable tombs - the Nanfan tomb, dating from the fifteenth century. It is decorated with carvings and traces of brightly coloured paint which would have been used all over it originally.
we believe this to be the tomb of Jane, Lady Houghton, widow of the first Sir John Nanfan.
She went on to be marry and be widowed twide more. The carvings on the tomb commemorate her three husbands and children. One of whome became the Bishop of Lichfield, Chester, Coventry and finally Exeter.