Stained glass

I love going into churches, I’m not a Christian but I love visiting places of worship, so I also like temples, synagogues, meeting houses, they just fascinate me! We are so lucky in the United Kingdom that we have a long history of building such places, going right back to Stonehenge and beyond. My family hasn’t really the same interest but they patiently come with me, trailing round what they consider boring places while I ooh and aah. There was  the time when we went to visit Ossian’s Grave near Cushendall in County Antrim. it was a vile day, heaving it down with rain and the children were only about three and four, but they patiently waited in the car while I wondered round what appeared to them a heap of old stones, absolutely in my element.

So it is no surprise to any of them, when I slip into a church as we visit a place of interest. One of the joys of English churches is stained glass, and in St Mary’s in Bridgwater, while my husband was looking at bits and bobs in an iron mongers, I nipped in. It was a lovely, graceful church, very old and full of interest; there has been a church on this site since the beginning of the twelfth century, but it has undergone many alterations since then. I wish I were a better photographer to capture the loveliness of the windows; the light came flooding in, painting the old stones with colour.

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This picture doesn’t do it justice!
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The sun was flooding through this window!

7 Comments

  1. Carl D'Agostino

    Community Protestant churches in US are very austere for the most part. We are taught that the statues, ornate architecture and stained glass of Catholicism are ostentatious displays of wealth unbefitting the teaching of Jesus and distractive and idolatrous. Personally, I could easily compromise on the stained glass matter. The sanctuary becomes energized as that now colored sunlight rainbowizes the interior , it proclaims the magnificence of Creator, an announcement of presence, that is beautiful.

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    1. Lois

      I guess because many of the churches with old glass over here are pre-reformation, i.e. when England was a Catholic country those windows date from then; I know a lot was smashed during the English Civil war, but I guess that now most churches have some stained glass… often paid for by some wealthy patron and dedicated to their family.
      My favourite stained glass is in Coventry Cathedral, magnificent, and very spiritually moving.

      http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/visit-us/introductory-video.php

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      1. Isabel Lunn

        We are also non-believers but love stained glass and have visited many places to see the glass. Yes Coventry is beautiful, but I think our favourite is Fairford in Gloucestershire which has 28 complete windows. They issue you with binoculars and torches so you can see the detail of the glass and tracery high up. Ely Cathedral has a very interesting stained glass centre showing the history and with examples from mediaeval times up to the present day. Abroad, I think Chartres is my favourite. This also has a glass making centre. Several years ago I bought an interesting book by Mike Harding called The Little Book of Stained Glass. Don’t know if it’s still in print, but you might be able to get it on either Amazon or Ebay

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      2. Lois

        Yes I love Ely too; we’ve never been to Fairford, apart from Bari going to the airshow! We’ll have to have a little trip when the temperature is above freezing point!
        I think I may have got the Mike Harding book somewhere… I also have his book on the Green Man

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