The Story of the Parents of the Virgin Mary

Saint Anne ~ Clayton & Bell, London; before 1898

Anne was the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The story of the parents of the Virgin Mary is told in the 13th cent. Golden Legend which took it from the apocryphal New Testament literature. Joachim, a rich man, and Anne his wife were without child after twenty years of marriage. When Joachim came to the Temple in Jerusalem on a feast day to make offering he was rebuked and turned away by the high priest because he was childless. ‘Joachim, all confused for this thing, durst not go home for shame.’ Instead he went and stayed with his shepherds in the desert, where an angel appeared to him. The angel foretold that Anne would conceive, and that the child would be the mother of Jesus. As a sign, Joachim was to go to the Golden Gate at Jerusalem where he would meet his wife. The angel then appeared to Anne with a similar message. The apocryphal Protevangelium tells that the angel came while Anne was sitting in her garden under a laurel tree, lamenting her barrenness. Seeing a nest of sparrows in the tree she cried, ‘Woe unto me, even the fowls of the heaven are fruitful’. The couple met at the appointed place and embraced joyfully, and from that moment Anne was with child” (Hall, 170). Anne has no special icons but is often depicted wearing red, color symbolic of love. The book she is holding represents her role in the education of Mary.

The scene in the predella (bottom part of the window) shows the young Mary at the knee of her mother learning to read. Joachim stands at the left.

The window was one of a pair donated to St. John’s before 1898 (the other being a Virgin Mary window), mentioned in a Stamford Advocate newspaper article about the consecration of the church on 1 November 1898. One of the windows was donated in the memory of Mrs. Isaac Quintard by her children, and the other donor’s name was not made public. The article did not say which window was the Quintard memorial.

This window was made by Clayton & Bell of London and is located on the east wall, clerestory level, above the entrance to the chapel.

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Location: Above the entrance to the chapel, upper level of the south transcept, left side
Inscription: None