Leper Windows at Conisborough Parish Church

June 1937

Sheffield Independent June 8, 1937

Leper Windows

Reference in these columns to “Leper” windows and the possible existence of one at Conisborough, bring some interesting comments on the subject from Rev W.J.T.Pascoe, Vicar of Conisborough for many years, until he came to St Swithin’s, Sheffield last year.

He points out that the technical description of this type of window is “lychnoscope,” meaning “to see the light,” and so called because the head of anyone peering through the window will be on the level of the Altar candles.

In 1867, there was such window in the Conisborough Parish Church, in its original condition, complete with iron injuries, an open door, and an article in the “Times” described it as the only one left in England at that time in its complete and original state.

In that year however it was bricked up from the outside, but there still remains to be seen from inside the Church the framework and the iron bars of the window in a good state of preservation.

The discovery was also made at Conisborough of foundations which offered evidence of some lean to structure, apparently to give shelter to those who were watching, or taking part in the service, through the window.

Another aperture in the Canada Church which has been described as a “leper window,” or “leper squint,” is a hole through one of the pillows.

But Mr Pascoe discredits this theory, and advances the most probable explanation that it was used for the purpose of synchronising the services at the high altar and low altar, and incidentally to ensure that one collection was not taken before the other!