Art in Headington

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Vashti window at St Andrew's Church (1932)

Vashti window

This stained-glass window by Archibald Nicholson was put up in St Andrew's Church in 1932 in memory of Vashti de Montfort Wellborne. Named after Queen Vashti of Persia, she was an actress who lived at Barton Manor until her death at the age of 60 on 30 October 1930 (see her biography for more information). .

On the left, representing Miss Wellborne’s alleged ancestry, is Simon de Montfort on horseback, with the inscription “Founder of the English Parliament”, with the Chapter House at Westminster underneath.

On the right, sitting with a panther at her feet, is the crowned Queen after whom Miss Wellborne was named, with the inscription “Vashti, Queen of Persia”, with Barton Manor below.

This window caused some controversy at first. George Day (Vicar of St. Andrew’s 1946–1956), in an interview with S.P.B. Mais about the window in the Oxford Mail of 14 January 1955, said:

I don’t suppose there is another window to Vashti in the country, and there was some difficulty in getting the Chancellor to allow this one. He at first refused, but when it was ingeniously pointed out to him that Queen Vashti was most virtuous and exemplary in her refusal to attend her husband in his cups the Chancellor allowed it to be put up.


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© Stephanie Jenkins


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