A short history and description of the Church of St Edward the Confessor, Windsor
Notes on the life of Edward the Confessor
Saint Edward the Confessor (c. 1003 – 5 January 1066) was King of England from 1042 until his death in 1066.
He was son of an earlier King of England, Ethelred the Unready, and his wife Emma of Normandy.
He was the penultimate Anglo-Saxon King of England and the last of the House of Wessex.
When Edward died he had no son to take over the throne, so a conflict arose as three men claimed the throne of England.
This situation eventually led to the Battle of Hastings, the Norman Conquest of England and the start of the reign of William I of England, Duke of Normandy, popularly known as William the Conqueror
Edward was canonised in 1161 by Pope Alexander III, during the reign of King Henry II.
He is commemorated annually on 13 October by the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England and other Anglican Churches.
He is regarded as the patron saint of kings, difficult marriages, and separated spouses.
From the time of his canonisation through to 1348 he was considered to be the patron saint of England, when he was replaced in this role by Saint George.
He has always remained as the patron saint of the English Royal Family.
The name of St Edward the Confessor has long been associated with Windsor. He was favourite Saint of both Kings Henry II and Henry III, and soon after his canonisation, a Chapel dedicated to him was built within the walls of Windsor Castle.
The Chapel is now known as the Albert Memorial Chapel.
Notes on St Edward’s Parish Community
The Parish was founded in 1825, and until the present Church was built, the parishioners were served by a small Chapel in Herimitage Road.
The first Parish Priest was P.A.Comberbach (1825 to 1830), followed by T.F.Wilkinson (1830 to 1854).
The third Parish Priest was Augustus Applegard who served the community for 35 years and was responsible for building the Church in 1868. He was followed by John Loginotto who was Parish Priest for over 47 years from 1889 until 1936.
A Short Tour of St Edward’s Church
The Church was designed by Charles Alban Buckler and was opened on St Edward’s Day, 13 October 1868, in the presence of Archbishop, later Cardinal, Henry Edward Manning.
In 2005, St Edward’s Church was voted “Windsor’s Favourite Listed Building”.
The Statues and Windows on the left side (North) of the Church
Entering the Church through the main West Door from Alma Road and going to the left hand side of the Church, the first window beyond the confessional is in memory of Alphonsus and Martha Jerningham, and shows Lazarus being called from the Tomb.
On a pillar at the back of the Church is a plaque which commemrates all the Priests and Deacons who have served The Parish Community.
The second window, in memory of Canon Ferdinand Riley, depicts the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
Below this window is the shrine of St Anthony of Padua, born in Lisbon about the end of the twelfth century. He became a Franciscan, the first theologian of his order, and died in Padua in 1231.
Note the symbols of the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; a reminder of St Anthony’s ability to explain the Gospels.
The third window, in memory of Henry Atlee, portrays the Widow’s Son of Naim.
Below this window is the Statue of the Divine Child of Prague. The original statue is preserved in the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague. It is about 50cms high (18inches), carved in wood and covered in wax.
The Figure appears to represent a symbolic synthesis of the idea of the Kingship of Christ and that of the Holy Childhood.
The origin of the figure is shrouded in legend. It was brought from Spain to Prague in the 16th century.
The Chapel of St Joseph
This Chapel is located on the left hand side of the Church and contains the Baptismal Font; It is the original Font, presented by Messrs Kelly of Victoria Street, builders of the Church. It was moved to its present position in 1984.
The stained glass panels in the Chapel, left to right, show the Birth of Our Lord, The Presentation in the Temple, the Flight into Egypt and the Holy Family at work in Joseph’s carpenter’s shop.
The painting on the left hand side wall portrays the Marriage of Mary and Joseph, and is unique, in that it is one of the few images where Joseph is depicted wearing a wedding ring.
There are very few known picures of this marriage.
On the right wall, the painting portrays the death of St Joseph, with Jesus and Mary attending him.
The Sacred Heart Altar
The Sacred Heart Altar, on the left of the Main Sanctuary, was added as part of the 1910 refurbishment. The central statue of the Sacred Heart is surrounded by a relatively simple trellis background.
The Main Sanctuary
The Central High Altar is the original Altar of the Church. It was moved to its present position in 1910.
The two statues built into the altar on the extreme left and right, are of Our Lady and the Angel Gabriel.
Carved into the front of the Altar are two panels; the left panel shows an Angel holding a crown of thorns, and the right , shows another Angel holding, on a cushion, a royal crown.
Above the Altar, in the centre, is portrayed the Calvary with Mary and John.
The Calvary is flanked by two long narrow windows depicting the heavenly choirs of angels.
There are also two fine side windows in the sanctuary, which can only be clearly seen standing in front of the Main Altar.
The window on the left portrays the Wise Men asking Herod the way to the Infant Jesus, because they have seen his star.
The window on the right hand side, shows the Angels announcing the Birth of Jesus to the Shepherds.
The two windows were erected in memory of Leopoldo Cabrera y Richards, by his brother and sister, the Conde and Condessa Morella.
Ramon Cabrera, (1810-1877), a soldier, was a staunch supporter of Don Carlos who made him Count of Morella.
Driven out of Spain in 1840, he eventually settled in Wentworth, and regularly attended Mass at the Church.
He was a great support, both morally and financially, to Canon Augustus Applegarth, the third Parish Priest (from 1854 to 1889), during the planning and building of St Edward’s. Mass is still celebrated for him annually in the Church.
The Altar of Sacrifice was erected in 1983 and consecrated on 24 March 1983 by Bishop Anthony Emery of Portsmouth (1976-1988). It was designed by Mrs J Corrigan and built by Messrs VoIkes and Beck of Winchester.
The Lectern also dates from the same period and the wrought iron railings were adapted from the original Altar rail by Messrs Hull of Windsor.
The President’s Chair was designed by G Thompson of Kilburn and is in memory of Miss Ursula Ryland.
The matching stools are in memory of George Marriott GCSK who was the Founder President of the Windsor Circle of the Catenian Association.
The statue in front of the main Altar pillar on the left portrays St Edward the Confessor, in his kingly robes, holding in his hand a ring. The story is told that St Edward was asked by a beggar for alms and as he had nothing to give him, he took off his ring and gave it to him. St Edward later had a vision of St Peter holding the ring.
The statue on the right hand side is St Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1178-1240, principle patron of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Above the Chancel Arch, God Our Father sits in Glory surrounded by Choirs of Angels.
The Group on the left represents the four Doctors of the Church, St Gregory the Great, St Ambrose, St Augustine and St Jerome.
Those on the right are the Old Testament figures, Abraham, Melchisedech, Moses and David.
The Angels on the walls of the Church portray various implements of the Passion of Our Lord. They are painted on canvas and were placed here in the early 1900s.
The Silver Monstrance
St Edward’s possesses a silver gilt Monstrance presented to Fr. Wilkinson by King Louis Philippe of France, in 1844, to mark his attendance at Mass in the Clewer Chapel while on a visit to Queen Victoria.
There is also a fine Chalice with an enamel insert which bears the inscription; “Pray for John Loginotto, Priest”.
The Lady Chapel
On the right hand side of the Main Altar is the Chapel of Our Lady, or the Riley Chantry.
Note the capitals of the pillars supporting the Chancel Arch with the letter ‘R’ for Riley.
The Altar reredos are thought to be designed by Hardman of Birmingham.
The centrepiece is a beautiful Statue of Our Lady in alabaster of the School of Tino di Comaino of Siena and Pisa, 13th century.
Similar copies can be seen in Trapani, Budapest and Rome in the Convent buildings near to the Church of Saints John and Paul.
It is believed that the side figures on the reredos represent Mary’s parents –St Joachim and St Anne. Then the other side, John the Baptist’s parents –Zachariah and Elizabeth (who was a cousin of Mary). It would make sense that the characters around Our Lady are associated with her – in these cases, her family!
Notice the symbols that they are holding:-
Elizabeth holds a cross – John the Baptist is often portrayed as holding a cross.
Zachariah holds a thurible – St Luke tells us in the Gospel that Zachariah was taking incense into the temple when the angel appeared and said that he and Elizabeth would have a child.
Joachim holds a staff – a shepherd’s staff symbolic for the Christian word. He also holds a lamb.
and Anne carries a book – by tradition we are told that she taught Mary.
The Altar was rebuilt in 1989 to the design of George Matthews ARIBA.
The round window above the Altar portrays Our Lady and is an early design of Hardman of Birmingham.
There are two blocks of stained glass windows on the south side, with three panels in each.
Starting from the Altar, the panels portray the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Then the next block of panels depict the death of St Joseph, attended by Jesus and Mary; the death of Our Lady surrounded by the Apostles, the Crucifixion of Our Lord and the Entombment.
On the wall below the window is a plaque commemorating the various members of the Riley family.
Note the fine Minton floor tiles.
There is a small writing table in the Lady Chapel which has an interesting story
During the 1970’s, when Windsor Methodist Church was being refurbished, the Methodist Community were allowed to use the Lady Chapel for their services. When the work was completed, the Methodist Church was reopened by by our current Queen Elizabeth II, and she sat at the writing Table to sign the visitor’s book. In thanks for being allowed to use the Lady Chapel, The Methodist Community presented the Table to St Edward’s Church.
The Writing Table is now used for all Weddings at St Edward’s when the Bride and Groom sign the Register.
As we move out of the Chapel, we see on the right a picture of Mother of Perpetual Succour. The original painting is venerated in the Church of St Alphonsus in Rome.
The first copy ever to leave Rome was installed in the Bishop Eton Monastery in Liverpool in 1866.
The Statues and Windows on the right side (South) of the Church
The first statue on the left as we leave the Lady Chapel is of St Patrick, depicted with a shamrock on his chest.
The first stained glass window portrays the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven and her Coronation.
The next window has four panels showing scenes from the life of St Mary Magdalene; firstly wiping the feet of Jesus; then at the foot of the Cross; then at the empty tomb; and finally meeting Jesus in the Garden. Thought to be of Pugin design, it dates from 1850 and was made at the John Hardman of Birmingham workshop.
The window was originally part of the East window of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Barnstaple, Devon, which was closed in 1970. It was found by English Heritage and restored by Michael Coles who designed the background, and arranged for it to come to St Edwards to complement the other Hardman windows in the Lady Chapel.
It was installed in St Edward’s on 23 February 1990, by the kind generosity of one of our parishioners, Mrs Nora Golech.
The third window depicts the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord.
Next we come to the Side Door and South Porch, which was altered in 1989 to provide a ramp for the disabled.
The last window on this side shows the woman kissing the hem of Our Lord’s garment, asking for her daughter’s cure and the cure of the blind man.
After this window is a fine statue of St Theresa in a small basilica.
The West Window and flanking Statues
Finally, at the back of the Church, located over the Front Main Door of the Church, is the beautiful West Window.
The top centre panel shows Jesus, the Lamb of God, holding the Banner and the Cross.
The upper five panels, going left to right, firstly show Our Lord with the man at the pool, “Take up thy bed and walk.”
Next is the rich young man coming to Our Lord asking what he must do to inherit eternal life.
In the centre panel, we have the Holy Simeon holding the Divine Child in his arms with St Joseph in the background and Hannah the Prophetess kneeling.
Next is the cure of the blind man, and then in the right hand panel, the Marriage Feast of Cana.
The bottom panels, left to right, show the Parable of the Sower going out to sow his seeds; the Good Samaritan; the Magi visiting the Child and his mother; the Prodigal Son being received by his father, and finally the Ten Maidens.
The statue on the left of the West Window on the back wall of the Church is St Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, died 862, holding in his left hand the bridge, which he built at Winchester. He was the tutor of King Alfred.
The statue on the right hand side at the back of the Church is the statue of St Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester on Thame, who died in 650.