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Great Malvern Priory has a larger display of 15th century stained glass than any church in England. The 15th and 16th centuries were said to be the zenith of English stained glass. But there is a great variety to be seen as well. Although the largest windows are glazed with medieval glass, there is Victorian glass in the North aisle and modern glass in the Millennium windows.
To take full advantage of this display you must visit Malvern Priory and walk round with the "Tour of Great Malvern Priory" in your hand. The "Tour" guide is available from the Priory bookshop for £2.50.
When you walk into the Priory you cannot help but be impressed by the East window, the largest in any parish church in England. The effect can be seen in the picture on the right. Behind you and not properly visible, until you walk forward and turn round, is the West window given by Richard of Gloucester in the 1480s. Originally called the 'doom' window, it depicted the day of Judgement.
Imagine worshipping in the Priory with the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ depicted in front of you on the great East window and the day of judgement lit up behind you in the West window!
All of the medieval windows suffered terribly over the course of time and the West window was reglazed with pictures of angels, saints and bishops using glass from other windows in the Priory. The picture (right) shows, from left ro right, St Laurence, St George and St Christopher under the image of the Lord above.
The other 'royal' donation was the so called 'Magnificat' window in the North transept. This was given in 1501 by Henry VII and besides depicting scenes from Mary's life, it contains the words (from Luke ch 1) in which she praises God for making her the mother of Jesus. The picture (right) shows the central figure of Mary enclosed with a vesica of blue cloud studded with stars.
St Anne's Chapel has three South facing medieval windows depicting a chronological sequence of events from the Old Testament. At the East end is a window which commemorates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, executed by the well known Victorian glass painter Kempe. The crucifixion of Christ is depicted and either side are figures of Mary and St Michael. These are used on the Patronal page.
Queen Victoria herself appears in a window in the North aisle, given to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. She can be seen in the panel (right) with her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in a scarlet uniform standing behind her.
The two millennium windows at the East end of the North aisle are shown in the Photo gallery page. The windows designed and made by Thomas Denny are based upon themes taken from Psalm 36.