The Waller Window
The Waller Window – c 1800 – possibly James Pearson
A special interest window to historians and stained glass experts, this window was originally in the church that stood on the site from 1800-1870 .
This was not produced in the style of the medieval craftsmen but appears to be painted in enamels on to thin clear glass. It has recently been restored (2020) .
The work , funded by members of the congregation, the Waller family (from the USA) and 5 charitable trusts, was undertaken by Chapel Studio Stained Glass Ltd of Kings Langley, Herts
The window was created in about 1800, probably by James and Margaret Pearson, and represents Walter Waller (1548-1599) and his wife, Anna Chute (1548-1634) of Bethersden, (note the three swords of her family coat of arms) .
It commemorates the long relationship, from about 1400 to 1604, between the Waller family of Groombridge Place and the parish of St Mary’s. During this time, the Wallers contributed substantially to maintaining the old medieval church which burnt down after being struck by lightning on 20 October 1791.
If you enlarge this image you can see the carefully restored fragments of glass
Abraham and Isaac
The centre panel depicts the scene of Abraham poised to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Genesis 22)
You can make see an angel restraining Abraham’s hand with another angel and a ram in the background.
Above Abraham’s head is the Waller crest of a walnut tree with a shield bearing the Fleur-de-Lys emblem of the French monarchy.
Sir Richard Waller (d. 1462) was given permission to include the Fleur-de-Lys (which is also above the south door of the church) following his success at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 when he is reputed to have captured the Duke of Orleans, the French King’s half-brother and a possible heir. The Duke was then held in England at various locations for some 25 years until a huge ransom (about £400m in today’s money) had been paid. Meanwhile, the Duke’s younger brother, Jean, Count of Angouleme is reputed to have been held at Groombridge Place by Sir Richard who used some of the expenses he received for looking after the Duke along with some of the ransom monies, to restore and maintain the old medieval church of St Mary’s