The four windows on either side of the Sanctuary were all presented by The Edmundian Association, and all represent scenes from the life of St Edmund.
The first window on the gospel side portrays scenes from St Edmund’s boyhood. The first light shows St Edmund kneeling with his mother, Mabel Rich, while the monks sing the Divine office at Abingdon Abbey. In the second light, St Edmund is seen consecrating himself to the service of God and Our Lady by a vow of perpetual chastity. In the third light, the saint and his brother, Robert, are departing for the university in Paris; their mother has just given them hair shirts as a parting gift.
The second window on the same side portrays St Edmund as a teacher. In the first light, St Edmund is teaching mathematics at Oxford. The second light records a vision of his mother, which the saint experiences several years after her death. While still teaching mathematics at Oxford, his mother appeared to him in his sleep and drew his attention to better things: the study of theology. This she did by tracing three circles in which she wrote the names of the three divine persons. This emblem of the Blessed Trinity has been associated with St Edmund ever since. In the third light, St Edmund is seen preaching the crusade in 1227.
The window nearest the altar on the epistle side portrays St Edmund as Archbishop of Canterbury. In the first light, St Edmund is being persuaded by the Bishop of Salisbury and his canons to accept this important office in 1234. In the second light, St Edmund is seen crossing the Channel for the last time.
The other window on the epistle side deals with St Edmund’s death. In the first light, he is seen receiving the last sacraments, surrounded by monks, at Soissy. In the third light, St Edmund is lying in state. St Louis, King of France, is kneeling at the bier; in fact, St Louis kneels at St Edmund’s tomb on the occasion of the translation of his body after the canonisation in 1247. The centre light shows St Edmund in glory, blessing the College. The panel below is a representation of the altar and shrine of the saint, as it existed in 1884.
It will be noticed that the last window differs somewhat in colour from the first three. The first three windows were erected in 1869 for the celebration of the first centenary at Old Hall. The fourth was not erected until 1884 and was destroyed by a bomb blast in 1940. It was replaced in 1952.