St Alphege Window

This window is high up above the Bible Windows but beneath the clerestory windows in the north Choir aisle; it is the most easterly of the group of three. It was originally further east over the shrine, now destroyed, of St Alphege.  It is one of the oldest surviving windows from the 12th century that is intact.  This shows scenes from the life of St Alphege, who was archbishop between 1005 and 1012, in three roundels (Image 1).  There is thought to have been a further 3 roundels which would have completed the story showing Alphege eventually being attacked by drunken Danes who killed him by throwing ox bones at him.

What to see:

  • The upper roundel shows the siege of Canterbury by the Danes in September 1011, four Danes are shown outside the city walls also depicting a city gate. The Danes are dressed in chain mail and attacking with swords, lances and shields. as in scenes in the later Bayeux Tapestry which is thought to have been made in Canterbury.  Within the walls, the defenders similarly dressed are fighting off the attack with lances shields and hand held stones (Image 2)
  • In the right hand roundel Alphege, shown on the left, dressed in mitre and chasuble is being attacked by the Danes. Alphege had tried to stop the massacre following the fall of the city after 3 weeks only to be taken captive and ransomed (Image 3)
  • In the left hand roundel Alphege is being taken on board a Viking ship which took him to Greenwich where the Danes had their winter camp (Image 4)