St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005

During the war in 1944 a pilot-less flying bomb exploded near the church and shattered over thirty of the stained lights in the church; those on the north side suffering the most.  Indeed only fragments of coloured glass survive in the tracery on that elevation.  The major loss was the west window of the north aisle, which had contained ancient glass depicting scenes from the life of Christ, a window which had survived the Reformation, the zeal of the puritans and a rebuilding of the aisle, only to be destroyed by the blast.  According to experts, the loss of the other windows was no great matter - some finding them 'irritating' or 'positively distressing'.  They had been described as mid-nineteenth century Munich glass, 'purple, orange and manure in colour'. (!)

The windows are presented in clockwise order - starting with the east window.  All the photographs have been electronically corrected for perspective distortion, which may have altered the aspect ratios.

The glass was dedicated in 1946 and was designed by the daughter of Sir William Smith-Marriott, Rosemary Everett.  It depicts the crucifixion, but rather than emphasising the sacrifice and pain of the event, it focuses on the drama and its achievement for believers.  St John and the Virgin are at the foot of the cross.  Behind Christ is the sun, symbolising the Sun of Righteousness, while at his fingertips are the gates of heaven.  In the tracery above, Jesus is enthroned on the globe, a symbol of a perfect world, with cherubim and seraphim on either side.  The two smaller sections of tracery contain the Christian symbols, justice, peace and faith; hope, love and courage.  It is an arresting design.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

In one of the south window of the chancel is this little medallion of the Holy Dove.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

To the south of the chancel is the South Chapel, which prior to the invasion of the organ, was a self contained chapel with an altar under the east window, and a piscina (surviving) in the south wall.  From contemporary documentary evidence we know the chapel was dedicated to St Peter ad Vincula.  Here is the glass in the east window today, although unseen during worship (no sad loss) as the chapel, with its musical tenant, is now used as a choir vestry.  It was installed by the Smith-Marriott family and contains heraldic emblems of that family.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

Now in the south aisle, the most easterly window (excluding those in the vestry) is this one.  The dedication reads "To the Glory of God and in memory of Richard Du Cane born 16 Jan. 1821 - died 29 Jan 1904 and of Charlotte Maria his wife dau. of Sir J John Guest Bart born 3 July 1834 died 5 June 1902."  The glass depicts St Michael, with a sword and balance, and St George armed and standing before a dead dragon.  The figures stand above the family arms.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

Between this window and next is one of the spiral staircases to the former rood loft.  The staircase is lit by a tiny window with the emblems of faith, hope and charity.  The other, easterly, stair is also lit by a tiny window bearing an IHS monogram, however I omitted to take a photograph.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

The next pair along depicts the nativity and an image of Christ blessing children in a garden.  The brass plaque below the window reads "This window is dedicated by his parents in affectionate memory of Harold George Norman Cavendish Cousins 1884."

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

The next window is my favourite in the building as I live the colours and overall balance of the design.  It depicts Saint Margaret of Antioch overcoming the legendary dragon of temptation and the fabled Sir Galahad, personifying Arthurian chivalry.  The inscription reads "To the Glory of God and in memory of Major Simon Willard  1605 - 1676 Kentish Soldier.  For forty years distinguished in military legislative and judicial service in New England.  A founder of Concord Lancaster and Grotori in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay.  Given by his descendants in America 1921."

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

In the western wall of the south aisle is a two light memorial to John Francis Austen and his daughters.  St Paul, book and sword in his hands, stands to the left of St Cecilia, holding an organ.  Below, St Paul is depicted in Malta after shaken off the viper which had bitten him (and escaping unharmed); St Cecilia is shown being visited by angels in her prison cell where she was held by the Romans. The inscription reads "In memory of John Francis Austen born 1817 died October 1893 and of his daughters Georgina C f who died May 1885 aged 15 & Charlotte M wife of W Smith Marriott died March 1910."

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

The glass in the west window is by Rosemary Everett.  The theme is Christ in Majesty, seated on a throne with the Book in his hand, while at his feet are the rainbow and New Jerusalem.  In the tracery are the four Archangels.  The window is in memory of Mrs Bowring of Goudhurst and was erected in 1948.

St Margaret, Horsmonden, Kent - 8th February 2005 - MTC

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Digital photographs

For more information about St Margaret's I can thoroughly recommend Anthony Cronk's excellent book, "St Margaret's Church, Horsmonden" - 3rd edition (1995, ISBN 0 922993 1 3) was available in the church when I visited.  It is from there that I obtained the factual information on these pages.

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