Images of St Kenelm


There are numerous images of St Kenelm to be found in many forms. In this page, I have included those I can find and have grouped them under nine headings:

  1. Wall paintings
  2. Romsley stained-glass
  3. Other stained-glass
  4. Reliefs
  5. Ancient manuscripts
  6. Statues
  7. Paintings and icons
  8. Ancient pilgrim badge
  9. Modern mosaic

1. Clent Wall Paintings

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 complete window
  1. The Pope praying at Rome
  2. The appearance of the dove before the Pope
  3. Bishop goes to Clent and encounters the cow guarding Kenelm’s rough grave
  4. Kenelm’s body uncovered
  5. Kenelm arrives at the gates of heaven
  6. The pallbearers of Kenelm, resting
  7. The dead body of Quendryda
  8. Kenelm, standing over the body of Quendryda
  9. Signatures of the Camm family, the artists who created the window.

3. Other Stained Glass

Upton Snodsbury Church
Also, Upton Snodsbury Church
St Augustine’s Church, Ramsgate. It was the personal church of Augustus Pugin, the renowned nineteenth century architect, designer, and reformer
The chapel of Sudeley Castle, St Mary’s Church

4. Reliefs

Relief above St Kenelm’s Well, Winchcombe
St Kenelm’s Church, Stanbridge. Over the west door of the church is a 12th Century sculpture of an angel holding a book to his breast with his right hand, a cross in his left hand, and he is standing next to a giant butterfly, and it is alleged to be a representation of St Kenelm himself
St Kenelm’s Church, Clent Hills. An ancient relief of a figure who may be Kenelm on the outside of the church.

5. Ancient manuscripts

King Offa and Kenelm (BL Cotton MS Claudius D VI, f.7). This image of Kenelm is the basis for several more modern images – e.g., the relief above Winchcombe Well
The opening of the Vita et miracula Sancti Kenelmi in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 368 (mid or late twelfth c.). St. Kenelm, enthroned, holds orb and lily; a dove places a crown on his head.
St. Kenelm, from MS Royal 2 B VII, England, c.1330-40. Illustrated Kenelm being tracked down by Quendryda and Askobert
Kenelm’s martyrdom, from MS Royal 2 B VII, England, c.1330-40

6. Statues

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.
Lychgate, St Kenelm’s Church, Clent Hills

7. Paintings and icons

Painting by Irene Pownell Williams. Link.
From the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St Marina and St Kenelm in Grimsby.
A modern Icon of the Saint

8. Ancient pilgrim badge

Medieval pewter pilgrim badge (possibly St. Kenelm), 14th century, found in Ampney Crucis (a Cotswold village). Now in Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

9. Modern mosaic

Outstanding mosaic reredos by Nicholas Mynheer; St Kenelm’s Church, Enstone. The five panels show Kenelm praying, Ascobert being bribed, the dove leaving for Rome, the murder and the discovery of the body, guarded by the cow.