Stained Glass

East-window All Saints has many stained glass windows, mostly depicting bible stories but also some memorials and a set which tell some of the church’s oldest stories. All Saints’ windows are not as old as you might think, and most of the glass you see can now is Victorian. All Saints may well have had stained glass in some of its windows in the Middle Ages, but none of this has survived. Some may have been deliberately destroyed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and other glass simply replaced with plain glass as it suffered damage or when the stonework of the windows needed repair.

Visitors to All Saints can follow a free self-guided trail of the church’s most interesting stained glass.

In the north aisle, to the west of the organ, two windows tell some of All Saints’ oldest stories despite being some of our newest glass, dedicated in 1956 and made by Lowndes and Drury of Fulham. Window 14 shows the arms of Saxon king Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, and suspected to have been crowned at Kingston. This is accompanied by the arms of Merton Abbey, Patrons of the living from All Saints’ construction to the abbey’s suppression in 1538, and of King’s College, Cambridge and its founder King Henry VI. The college bought the gift of the living in 1786. Window 15 contains pieces of ancient glass from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

The windows are by several of the leading firms of the period and are outstanding examples of High Victorian Gothic Revival. The earliest is the east window in the south choir aisle (2), by Ward & Nixon and probably from 1852. The great east window (1) is of 1860 by the same firm, now Ward & Hughes, and it was followed by windows by William Wailes (3), and Lavers and Barraud (4, 5, 11, 13, 19) all designed by Nathaniel Westlake; 12 probably designed by Milner Allen; 21-2 in the clerestory) of whom Nathanael Lavers was a member of the congregation. The great west window (12) is a particularly fine example of rich colouring and the figures of the Apostles with obviously Victorian heads are probably portraits of local people. Apart from no. 11 these all date from the 1860s. The windows of the south transept and the south wall of the nave (6-9) date from the period of Pearson’s restoration in the 1880s and are by Burlison & Grylls, who were also responsible for no. 10, in 1920. These have lighter colouring and were influenced by late fifteenth century Flemish and German glass. With one exception the other windows are all of the twentieth century: nos18 and 19 in the Holy Trinity chapel by Christopher Webb and the heraldic window by Lowndes & Drury. The sole exception is the fifteenth and sixteenth century glass from the Thomas and Drake collection installed in 1956. The windows were given as memorials, mainly to local people but in some cases to members of the East Surrey Regiment.