The windows in St Neot’s church are very special. They have been re-organised and added to from time to time. John Hedgeland did the bulk of the work in 1825-30 but two were moved in 1918 and there was a further restoration in 1937-8.
They are difficult to photograph effectively but here are some images to give you a flavour of them. My apologies for the quality.
Let’s start at the East window. The tracery includes the Annunciation while the main window shows the Last Supper by Hedgeland, based on a German woodcut.
At the end of the South aisle is the Creation window which is one of the three best narrative windows. This follows the traditional story up to God commanding Noah to make the ark. They are (left to right, top to bottom):
- Creation of the World and the great light
- Division of water and land
- Creation of fishes, birds and animals
- Creation of Adam
- Creation of Eve
- (Next row) The forbidden fruit
- Temptation and fall
- Expulsion of Adam and Eve
- Adam digging and Eve spinning
- The offerings of Cain and Abel
- (Next row) Cain kills Abel
- God sentences Cain
- Lamech accidentally shoots Cain
- The death of Adam
- God commands Noah to build an ark
Next to this, on the south wall, is the Noah window. This has the benefit that you can get really close to it. It tells his story up to his drunkness and death. Eight of scenes are original (left to right, top to bottom):
- Noah cuts down a tree
- He enters the ark
- He sends forth a raven and a dove
- He sends a dove which does not return
- (Next row) He leaves the ark
- He makes burned offerings
- He sees his father naked
- He drinks wine, gets drunk and dies
Next to this is the Borlase window with St Christopher, St Neot, St Leonard and St Katherine and various members of the Borlase family below.
The Martyn window – still on the south wall – features the Virgin and Child, the Rood, St John the Evangelist and St Stephen with members of the Martyn family below.
The Motton window has the four Evangelists.
The Tubb window features the little known St Lalluwy, St Neot, St John the Evangelist and St Stephen (the latter three are doing well so far). Below are the Calloway family and a priest who may be Robert Tubbe, vicar 1508-44.
The last window on the south wall is probably by Hedgeland and has St Peter (with sword), St Paul, Christ and St James the Great.
I have not yet photographed the two west windows which feature a C19 armorial window and a St George window.
Picking up at the west end of the north wall we have:
The St Neot window which tells the story of the saint’s life (reading form top left to right):
- Neot resigns his crown to his younger brother
- He takes vows as a monk
- He reads the psalter with his feet in the holy well
- He receives instructions from an angel to take only one fish a day from the well
- (Next line) He is sick and commands a servant to bring him a fish
- The servant prepares two fishes (tsk, tsk)
- The servant brings two fishes to the saint
- The servant is told to take both fishes back to the well
- (Next line) Neot’s oxen are stolen by robbers
- A man and boy are ploughing the glebe with stags
- The oxen are restored to Neot
- Neot receives a papal blessing
The young women’s window featuring St Petroc, St Clair, St Manac and All Saints (charmingly portrayed as Christ holding a napkin full of small heads).
The wives window has the Virgin, St Mabenna, Christ and St Meubred of Cardinham. Twenty wives of the parish are depicted below.
The Harys window ends this tour as two windows in the north aisle are hidden behind the organ. This features St John the Baptist, St Gregory, St Leonard and St Andrew (with his saltire).