East Harling (Norfolk)
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Church from the Road
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Sir Robert Wingfield, Comptroller
 for Edward IV in the East Window
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Click on picture for a larger image

EAST HARLING (Norfolk). The stained glass window of St. Peter & St. Paul (1450), installed in 1472 by Sir Robert Wingfield (d. 1481), husband of the heiress Anne Harling, is a great treasure. The Wingfields refurbished the church in 1480. Sir Robert was Lord of the Manor, Knight of the Shire for Norfolk and Comptroller for Edward IV. As is his wife, sir Robert is portrayed in the window, kneeling on a blue and yellow cushion, wearing complete armor with a tabard of red, gold and black and a crossbelt and shoulder strap bearing the three pairs of silver wings (for Wingfield) on a red background, with his red-plumed helmet beside him. In Cromwell’s time (1640s-50s) the Wingfield Window was hidden in a farmhouse – until in 1736 Thomas Wright, Lord of the Manor, rediscovered it.  On the underside of the middle seat on the north side of the choirstalls is a magnificently carved misericord showing the arms of Sir Robert Wingfield. (Wingfield with a crescent for difference & Bovile quarterly impaling Harling quartering Mortimer of Attleborough. In pretence: Gonville).

The parish of East Harling is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1066 - 1087), during the reign of William the Conqueror. There has been a Parish Church here from that time to the present.

The chancel contains six miserere stalls, of which four still retain their original seats. The great tomb in the north wall is that of Anne, only child of Sir Robert Herling, and her first husband, Sir William Chamberlain. He and Lady Anne were largely responsible for the rebuilding of the church, and her third husband, Sir Robert Wingfield, gave the glass of the east window.

This notable window has a romantic history: removed for safety in Cromwell's time, it was hidden in the attic of East Harling Hall, the ancient home of the Lovell's, then standing to the north of the church. There it remained until they sold the manor to Thomas Wright in 1736, and he restored the glass to the church. It was removed again for safety in the 1939-45 World War, and replaced and re-leaded in 1947.

The panels of the window depict (left to right):

Top row: (1) The Archangel Gabriel greets the Blessed Virgin Mary (2) The Blessed Virgin Mary visits Elizabeth (3) The Nativity (4) The Shepherds (5) The Wise men.

Second row: (1) fragments (2) Simeon receives Jesus in the Temple (3) Jesus before the Doctors of the Law (4) The marriage feast in Cana (5) fragments

Third row: (1) Mary Magdalene holding a vase of ointment (2) Judas betrays, and Peter defends our Lord (3) The crucifixion (4) The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross (5) The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in to heaven by five angels.

Bottom row: (1) Sir Robert Wingfield (2) The Resurrection (3) The Ascension (4) Pentecost (5) Sir William Chamberlain.