Thursday, 18 August 2011

Stained glass - a contrast in styles

During our recent holiday in Herefordshire I had the opportunity to photograph two completely different interpretations of the decorative effects of coloured glass. The first of these was in the church of St.John the Baptist at Stokesay, Shropshire. It is a tiny church but it has a couple of really beautiful stained-glass windows.

In this first scene, the angels appear before the shepherds on the eve of Christ's birth. The words at the bottom of the picture are "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE GOODWILL TOWARD MEN". The picture is full of symbolism:  notice the guiding star; the white doves; the olive branch held by one of the angels, etc. I expect that the plants at the bottom of the picture also have significance, if only we knew it.

I can just imagine the feelings of the local peasants when these hugely impressive and deeply significant works of art first went on display. They must have been absolutely awestruck.

In the next window we see two of the most important Archangels:

At the left "St.Michael, Captain of the Host" and at the right "St.Gabriel, Prince of Peace".

Before showing you a different style of stained glass, I want to show you a couple of other photos of the church, which incidentally has a long and chequered history. It was originally built in about 1150. These box pews are probably 16th Century. They are described as having survived a  "siege" in 1646, when Partiamentarian troops destroyed much of the church whilst endeavouring to drive out a party of Royalists who had taken refuge there.

At the front of the church, nearest the altar, are a couple of "canopied" pews, presumably reserved for the local gentry.

Anyway, on now to a completely different style of glass-work.

During a visit to the Water Gardens, in Lyonshall, near Pembridge, we came upon this curious domed structure, seen here from the other side of the "Monet-esque" lake. First impression - it looks like a Zulu kraal!

It turned out to be a structure made mostly of coloured glass bottles, with their bases outermost. Inside, the light effect was magical.

The interior of the structure was a small garden of ferns, kept damp by a built-in sprinkler system in the roof.

All I can say is "Wow!". Not like the ecclesiastical stained-glass, but ingenious and very impressive nonetheless.

P.S. This is nothing to do with stained glass, but I want to publish this photo in honour of one of my Australian blogger friends - Hazel Dene. It's just a house name-plate I spotted in Pembridge:


  1. Wow! Both wonderful and amazing! I love stained glass (I did a course at our local Adult Education Centre) and all things glass. I particularly like the bottles as it reminds me of a book I read as a child - Stig of the Dump - where the cave man used old glass bottles to make a window! Thanks for the post, really enjoyed it! :o)

    PS - also always love a good pew! ;oD

  2. The use of glass bottles is great. Shame about your marrow (last post) - maybe this isn't the year for courgettes and marrows? I have had a bad year in this area - blossom rot for me this year.

  3. Somebody must have got through a helluva lot of wine to produce such a wonderful monument.

  4. I hope those bottles were all tightly glued - it is impressive.
    As for photos in churches we've often found that the camera adds light - we have viewed photos where lots of detail has been revealed that was invisible to the eye in the gloomy interior.

  5. I've seen people use bottle walls in houses to great effect, never thought of using it in a garden room. Beautiful! Could make a lovely wall too.

  6. Your photos of the church windows are wonderful! And I love those bottled striking!

  7. Stained beautiful...the usual and the bottle kind.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.