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:
Clent Stained Glass – known as the Patronal Window
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 by Mr and Mrs GF Grove of Halesowen as a memorial to children who lost their lives in the First World War
- The Pope praying at Rome, dove flies in and delivers scroll
- The appearance of the dove before the Pope
- Bishop goes to Clent and a shaft of light highlights the tomb, which is guarded by a white cow
- Dispute over ownership of Kenelm’s body resolved in favour of Gloucestershire men.
- Kenelm works miracles – frees a prisoner and grants sight to blind man
- The pallbearers of Kenelm, resting. The abbot stuck his staff on the ground and a spring arose
- The dead body of Quendryda. Order are given that she should be cast in a ditch.
- Kenelm, standing over the body of Quendryda, giving the order referred to above
- Signatures of the Camm family, the artists who created the window.
Other Stained Glass
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.