Royal window (Edward IV)

This window stands in the north west transept (north side) and dates from about 1480.  Edward IV was a regular visitor to Canterbury Cathedral so it is perhaps not surprising that he paid for this window; in fact the main feature of the window now is the ‘donor strip’ that shows his patronage (Image 1).  This strip was originally at the bottom of the window but was moved to its present central position in the late 18th century when much of the glass in the cathedral was re-ordered.  The main lights were probably made by the royal glazier judging by the quality of the glass. The smaller upper lights are not of the same quality and were made by a different glazier (Image 2).

The borders of all the larger lights are made up of the broken remains of the window deliberately broken by the puritan Richard Culmer during the Civil War. It was Culmer who destroyed the main lights of this window which had previously portrayed the Virgin and also St Thomas and was considered to be the finest window in the cathedral.

What to see:

  • Edward IV is shown in the third light praying with a curtain behind him covered in his Yorkist badges (Image 3)
  • In the first two lights are his two sons, the princes Richard and Edward, briefly Edward V;  both of them were imprisoned in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard III, and died there (Image 4)
  • Facing Edward IV is his wife, Elizabeth Woodeville (Image 5) and beyond her are her five daughters (Image 6). The eldest daughter later married the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, and this marriage ended the Wars of the Roses.