Carnations for Our Lady

As we enter May, the month of Our Lady, here are a group of late medieval quarries decorated with Gillyflowers or Carnations. Carnations were one of a myriad of flowers that were associated with Our Lady in the Middle Ages. The etymology of the word Carnation is not precisely certain, but some argue that the name is a corruption of Incarnation!

These Carnations are at South Muskham in Nottinghamshire and just down the road at Kelham is the following interesting glass, a roundel decorated with a white flowering rose.

Kelham, Nottinghamshire

Sadly the legend on the roundel is damaged preventing a full determination of the text, but it possibly alluded to Our Lady who was often represented by the white rose, the Queen of flowers.

Kelham, Nottinghamshire

This roundel is in the tracery of a north aisle window at Kelham and in the next door window are a couple of IHS monogram roundel and this lovely ‘MR’ monogram. The initials stand for ‘Maria Regina’, Mary the Queen of Heaven and allude to the long held tradition that Our Lady was bodily assumed into heaven and crowned queen by her son. As late as 1913 the main lights of the windows also contained the repeated inscription ‘lade helpe’, so these windows evidently had a Marian theme.

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