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23 Oct: Memento Mori Monday

In the south aisle of St Andrew’s Church opposite St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich are two panels of medieval stained glass. The left panel is fragments of glass collected in a patchwork, the right panel depicts the Dance of Death and shows a bishop somewhat coyly dancing with a skeleton in a winding cloth.

The dance of death. CREDIT: Stacia Briggs

The window is believed to be the only surviving example of this theme in England and shows a skeleton leading a bishop towards death, possibly reflecting the late medieval preoccupation with the possibility of sudden death, apt during plague-ridden times.

St Andrew’s is full of treats to spot, including lots of gorgeous memento mori in the Suckling Chapel which commemorates a major Norfolk family who were forebears of Horatio Nelson (look out for the skulls mounted on a rotting fruit and flower cages), great carved bench ends and John Suckling and wife Martha’s tomb with their daughters underneath looking like Elizabethan Daleks queuing for a bus.


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