Sunday 12 February 2012

The Washington Window * Selby, Yorkshire

I forgot to tell you when I was last posting about Selby, to look out for the Washington Window in the abbey. It is to be found in the south clerestory window of the choir and is the original 14th century glass. Here is the full description for you: When Glover the Herald visited Selby in 1584-5 he described the escutcheon as 'Argent, two bars and in chief three mullets pierced, gules'. The shield is white with two red bars across and three red mullets (spur-rowels) in chief, each with a hole in the centre. This piercing is necessary to the true representation of the Washington mullets. At Great Brington in Northamptonshire, where the first President's ancestors formerly dwelt, the Arms are also represented with pierced mullets, the colours being identical with Selby though the shield is much smaller. In 1891 Harpers magazine showed two seals and a book-plate used by Washington which are virtually exact replicas of the Wessington family coat of arms. The Washington shield at Selby probably represents some kind of benefaction made to the Abbey to commemorate John Wessington, Prior of Durham (1416~1446) the most distinguished collateral ancestor of George Washington. John Wessington made important additions to Hemmingborough church which was a collegiate under Durham. Beneath the battlement of the tower at Hemmingborough is a succession of washing tubs or tuns ...... a rebus of the priors name!

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