Eaton Bishop, St Michael and All Angels

It’s a smallish squat church, dominated by the four-square solid Norman tower, but inside is perhaps the finest stained glass in the county and some would say among the best in the country.

It’s fourteenth century work with the characteristic elegant contrapposto-like curves of the figures and harmonious and rather muted but harmonious colouring – French glass but in an English design. The Virgin and Child has to be the highlight, but as I am interested in mediaeval academic robes my own eye was taken by the figure of Adam de Murimouth, canon of Hereford and cantor of Exeter Cathedral and probable donor of the window (the church was a cathedral living), since a note at the church says he is wearing the robes of a Doctor of Civil Law, although he would seem to be in a cope, so there is a puzzle to solve here. But what a display!

PS on Adam’s robes. The DCL attribution is found in George Marshall FSA’s article in the Woolhope Club Transactions for 1921 (online here). Jonathan Cooper in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 12 p.121 describes French 15th century DCL robes as having a chaperon trimmed with fur worn over the shoulder. That doesn’t properly fit with what we see here, but I think we do have two rabbit or ermine tails hanging from the front of what Rob Walker rightly I think identifies as an almuce worn over .a chimere. We can compare the brass of Richard Harward, warden, 1493, St Cross, Winchester, Hampshire (Richard Harward, warden, in cap and almuce, 3 lines of Latin inscription, 1493, St Cross, Winchester, Hampshire.

Then either there is a cope being worn over all, or the glass has been restored to give the illusion of one (a number of the pieces clearly come from elsewhere). Actual medieval illustrations of academic robes are as rare as hen’s teeth and the written documents tend to be more concerned with what is worn when than what the what actually is, so this is worth ferreting further.