In the late fourteenth century (perhaps 1380), a cycle of wall paintings, illustrating the legend of St Kenelm, is known to have been made at St Kenelm’s church, Clent. As with nearly all church wall-painting, these were whitewashed over after the reformation. They were uncovered as part of a restoration of 1845-46, but were apparently ‘obliterated’ shortly thereafter. There were however images created which allow us to go some way to recreating what this cycle must have looked like. Please see this page for further discussion of these very important records, the only known narrative treatment of his legend in medieval art.
One fragment of early wall-painting does survive, this being a young, male, seated figure (top left) on the North wall of the chancel. It is however believed to predate the St Kenelm cycle and is generally considered to have been made in the early fourteenth century:
2. Romsley Stained Glass
On the north side of the nave at Romsley church is the superb early 20th century window by Camm’s of Smethwick telling the story of St Kenelm. The layout is exceptional, the entire narrative being delivered in small vignettes filled with rich detail and superbly drawn, mostly by the brilliant Florence Camm with her brothers Robert and Walter. It is an outstanding work of the Arts & Crafts period and deserves to be much better known. The window was donated as a memorial to children who lost their lives in the First World War
The Pope praying at Rome
The appearance of the dove before the Pope
Bishop goes to Clent and encounters the cow guarding Kenelm’s rough grave
Kenelm’s body uncovered
Kenelm arrives at the gates of heaven
The pallbearers of Kenelm, resting
The dead body of Quendryda
Kenelm, standing over the body of Quendryda
Signatures of the Camm family, the artists who created the window.
3. Other Stained Glass
5. Ancient manuscripts
These splendid lime-wood statues of St Kenelm by Denis Alva Parsons were commissioned by Fr Bruce Dunstan of Our Lady and St Kenelm’s Church, Halesowen around 1990. The one on the left is positioned in the church, the one on the right, in the Church School. Notice both feature the cross-gartered style, something that crops up in other twentieth century images of the saint.