The Project Gutenberg EBook of Stained Glass Tours in England, by Charles Hitchcock Sherrill This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Stained Glass Tours in England Author: Charles Hitchcock Sherrill Release Date: January 2, 2011 [EBook #34818] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK STAINED GLASS TOURS IN ENGLAND *** Produced by D Alexander and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
Printed by Ballantyne &. Co. Limited
Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London
By the Same Author
STAINED GLASS TOURS
IN FRANCE. With
LEWIS F. DAY
WHOM HE TAUGHT
Although the purpose of this book is the quest of windows, it happens that these very windows are so obligingly disposed throughout the length and breadth of England, and light such different sorts of edifices, that in the search of them we shall obtain a very comprehensive idea of English architecture. Not only shall we visit many noble cathedrals (Canterbury, York, Winchester, Wells, &c. &c.), and smaller religious edifices (Fairford, St. Neot, Norbury, &c.), but we shall also see secular buildings of many types. In this latter category will be included both the great universities of Oxford and Cambridge, a civic guildhall (Coventry), an ancient hostel for the aged (Guildford), and one of the finest of the “stately homes of England” (Knole). Thus it will be seen that our tours are more broadly catholic than their title would indicate—indeed, we are tempted to [Pg viii]promise that by the time the pilgrim has completed them he will have obtained a well-rounded impression not only of glass, but also of the history as well as the ancient manners and customs of England. Unfortunately, no form of illustration can hope to reproduce the combination of light and colour which makes the beauty of stained glass; those selected for this book are the best obtainable, but are chiefly useful in showing how the windows are set. This is not a technical book, so scale-drawings would be out of place.
CHARLES HITCHCOCK SHERRILL.
20 East 65th Street,
New York City.
March 1, 1909.
|Early English Tour||29|
|LIST OF TOWNS||253|
|Cambridge, King’s College Chapel||Frontispiece|
|Map of Early English Tour||29|
|Canterbury, “Becket’s Crown”||38|
Thirteenth century medallions; notice circular and other forms enclosing the figures. The heavy iron bars needed to support the great weight of lead are skilfully adjusted to the design. The world-famous shrine stood in the centre of this space. Tomb of Black Prince in foreground, and above it armour he wore at Crécy.
|Lincoln, Rose Window||56|
Tracery unusual in that it does not radiate from centre. Quantity of greenish grisaille used emphasises leaf-like design. Thirteenth century medallions in the tall lancets below.
|York Minster, “Five Sisters”||62|
Softly toned grisaille, with delicate patterns in faint colour. Of its type unsurpassed in the world. Note difference between mellow strength of this glass and thinness of modern glazing in upper tier of lancets.
|Map of Decorated Tour||75|
|[Pg xiii]York Minster, Chapter-House||78|
Note the grouping together in each embrasure of five narrow lights below gracefully elaborated tracery openings. Later on, in the Perpendicular period, these traceries lose their individuality, become stiffly regular, and part of the window below.
|Tewkesbury Abbey, Choir||103|
A rare example of rounded apse, generally replaced in England by a square-ended chancel. Chief charm of these windows is their rich colouring.
|Wells, “Golden Window”||119|
Notice graceful setting, permitting a glimpse through into the Lady chapel beyond. The large Tree of Jesse, rising from the loins of the patriarch, is portrayed in colours of almost barbaric richness.
|Exeter, East Window||122|
Perpendicular stone frame, glazed chiefly with very typically decorated figure-and-canopy glass preserved from the earlier and smaller window. Below and beyond appears the Lady chapel.
|Map of Perpendicular Tour||141|
|Oxford, New College Antechapel||145|
Transition window, presented by William of Wykeham, Founder of the College. Stone frames are already Perpendicular: note the “pepper-box” tracery lights. The glazing, as usual, lags behind the architecture, and, because of its strong colour and flat drawing, is more Decorated than Perpendicular.
Great east window commerative of knights who fought at Crécy. Backgrounds of pink and soft blue. Tracery lights no longer differentiated from window below, as during Decorated period. Note elaborate masking of earlier walls by later Perpendicular work.
|[Pg xiv]Coventry, Guildhall||182|
Splendid row of ancient English kings, and, below, a great tapestry. In the centre of the window, and again on the tapestry, appears Henry VI., who was a member of the guild. Handsome example of mediæval hall.
|York Minster, East Window||188|
Tremendous sheet of colour, 78 by 32 feet. Lower half of stone frame built in a double plane, and carries a gallery across face of the glass.
The excellent effect produced by the Fifteenth Century fragments with which this window is glazed proves that colour is more important than design in glass. Note swerving to right and left of two principal mullions, thus relieving a monotony of upright lines.
|Map of Renaissance Tours||214|
|London, St. George’s, Hanover Square||220|
A Renaissance Tree of Jesse from Belgium, readjusted to fit its new embrasures. Figures unusually large for this subject. Fine colours and drawing.
|Lichfield, Lady Chapel||232|
Excellent example of Renaissance colouring, freer from applied paint than then customary. This glass was brought from Belgium.
|Guildford, Bishop Abbott’s Hospital||238|
Charming and complete glazing of a small chapel. Renaissance glass coloured by the process of enamelling, often unsatisfactory because bits are apt to peel off.
The errand of a window seems always to have been that of beauty, although it has more than one way of performing that service. Sometimes it seems to have chosen the inspiring manner of recalling ancient wars, as would appear from the “Dreme” of Chaucer:
“And sooth to sayn, my chamber was
Full well depainted, and with glass
Were all the windows well y-glazed
Full clear, and not an hole y-crazed,
That to behold it was great joy:
For wholly all the story of Troy
Was in the glazing y-wrought thus,
Of Hector, and of King Priamus;
Of Achilles, and of King Laomedon,
And eke of Medea, and of Jason;
Of Paris, Helen, and of Lavine.”
Sometimes the errand is that of beauty alone, so “mystic, wonderful,” as to make it seem that magic [Pg 4]was invoked to yield so fair a result. In his “Earthly Paradise” Morris voices this feeling:
“Folk say, a wizard to a northern king
At Christmastide such wondrous things did show,
That through one window men beheld the spring,
And through another saw the summer glow,
And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
Piped the drear wind of that December day.”
Again, the errand of the window may have been not so much that of a story-teller, nor of a beautiful object to regale one’s eyes withal, but rather to tint and temper the illumination of some holy place like that described in the “Lay of the Last Minstrel” (Canto XI.):
“The silver light, so pale and faint,
Show’d many a prophet and many a saint,
Whose image on the glass was dyed;
Full in the midst, his Cross of Red
Triumphant Michael brandished,
And trampled the Apostate’s pride.
The moonbeam kissed the holy pane,
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.”
Beyond the enjoyment and artistic refreshment to be obtained from the contemplation of stained glass, who shall say that we do not receive other benefits, the nature of which are as yet undiscovered? It is only recently that our learned brothers, the scientists, have acquainted us with the helpful qualities of those [Pg 5]rays of light which, in the language of the spectrum, are “out beyond the violet.” In this connection, it may be edifying to quote from the “Anecdotes and Traditions” of Aubrey: “The curious oriental reds, yellows, blews, and greens in glasse-painting, especially when the sun shines, doe much refresh the spirits. After this manner did Dr. R. revive the spirits of a poor distracted gentleman, for whereas his former physitian shutt up his windows and kept him in utter darknesse, he did open his window lids, and let in the light, and filled his windows with glasses of curious tinctures, which the distempered person would always be looking on, and it did conduce to the quieting of his disturbed spirits.” (Aubrey in “Anecdotes and Traditions,” edited for the Camden Society by W. J. Thomas, p. 96.)
Nor is this the only terra incognita still awaiting exploration. During some recent French experiments wide differences have been observed in the same kind of vegetable when grown under differently coloured glass covers. However, these are matters that will not be “dreamed of in our philosophy”—our investigations will be confined to a geographical search for that with which to delight our eyes.
When one pauses to consider how fragile the beauty of a stained glass window, it becomes amazing that even so much as we can now visit has survived. Over every European country there has, at one time [Pg 6]or another, swept a wave of destruction engulfing things artistic. The causes for, as well as the agents of, this iconoclasm, differ widely. Sometimes it comes from within, and is the result of civil war or of religious fanaticism—less often it is the result of foreign invasion.
English windows had the good fortune to escape the destruction by foreigners which the French had to suffer during those dreadful fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when the Hundred Years’ War outlasted its title, and when the hot-headed Plantagenet kings kept France continually plagued with English soldiery. Although we must record this particular immunity, other agencies equally baleful were at work. The Puritans made a practice of smashing stained glass, either because they regarded it as one of the hated insignia of popery (some of their ministers even knocking out the glass in churches under their own charge, like “Blue Dick” Culmer at Canterbury Cathedral), or for reasons of revenge, as in the case of the troops infuriated by the death of their leader in the assault upon Lichfield. Dwellers within the precincts of Lincoln made a common practice of shooting with crossbows at the windows! At Great Malvern the possible excuse of crossbow practice is missing; the villagers quite simply amused themselves by throwing stones at the great east window, just from the sheer joy of [Pg 7]destruction. In some instances, even the mitigating circumstances of religious fanaticism, revenge, competitive sport, or even amusement are entirely lacking. Aubrey tells us in his “History of Surrey,” that “At a later date, one Blesse was hired for half-a-crown a day to break the painted glass windows of Croydon.” Little wonder is it that the citizens of York should have voted Fairfax, the leader of the Roundheads, a tun of wine, &c., in reward for his protecting care of the cathedral after he and his soldiers had captured that city.
In an earlier book (“Stained Glass Tours in France”) we observed that French windows divided themselves into periods which were practically coterminous with the centuries, thus enabling us to designate the styles by their century number. In England the development of this craft brought about the style-changes at irregular dates; but here also the steps of this development are so marked as to separate it into distinct epochs. English glass follows its architecture so closely that one cannot do better than to accept the period-designation of the latter, and especially is this true during the so-called Decorated and Perpendicular epochs. For our purpose we will therefore use the following sub-divisions: Early English, which will include all the glass prior to 1280; Decorated, 1280 to 1380; Perpendicular, 1380 to 1500; Renaissance (sometimes styled [Pg 8]sixteenth century or Cinque Cento), 1500 to 1550. There are extremely few examples of the first and of the last schools, in marked contrast to the great wealth in France of windows contemporary thereto. Edward I. came to the throne in 1272, and it was during his reign that the Decorated period began, running through the reigns of Edward II. (1307), Edward III. (1327), and Richard II. (1377)—all of them Plantagenets. This and the succeeding period produced very little glass anywhere in France, because of the Hundred Years’ War, begun 1337, lasting until 1447, and waged throughout the length and breadth of the land. The exact opposite is true in England, where during the Decorated and Perpendicular epochs it reached its greatest importance and beauty. The Perpendicular period begins in 1380, shortly before Richard II., the last of the Plantagenets, was succeeded by the representatives of the rival Houses of Lancaster and York, three Lancastrians, Henry IV., V., and VI. (1399), (1413), (1422), being succeeded by three Yorkists, Edward IV. (1461), Edward V. (1483), and Richard III. (1483). This Perpendicular period came to an end at just about the same time as that tremendous civil struggle, the War of the Roses, was concluded by the accession of the House of Tudor, in the person of Henry VII. (1485). Our Renaissance glass period begins under him and lasts on through [Pg 9]practically all the reigns of the House of Tudor—Henry VIII. (1509), Edward VI. (1547), Mary (1553), Elizabeth (1558). At the time that the Tudors were succeeded by the Stuarts (James I., 1603), there was hardly any English glass being manufactured, save a little for domestic use, although many Dutch glaziers were then active in this country, as we shall regretfully observe when we visit Oxford and Cambridge.
It is clear from many an entry in ancient English church archives that French glaziers were often in the early days summoned across the Channel, and that it is to them that we owe the beginning of English glass; but we shall see that although it owes its origin to this foreign assistance, it developed along distinctly original lines, and that therefore the English glaziers deserve full credit for the charming traits peculiar to them.
Although the period styled Early English has left comparatively few examples north of the Channel, and cannot hope to vie with the many and rich displays of mosaic glass to be seen in France, we shall be greatly consoled by the splendid grisaille (or uncoloured glazing) that fills the “Five Sisters” at York, and by the remains of the great series at Salisbury. We have just referred to the scarcity of French stained glass during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, those sorry days during which [Pg 10]the English occupation of a large part of the country, repeated plagues, and uprisings of the lower classes against the nobles (like the Jacquerie), vied with each other in the work of devastation. Indeed, it is not strange that any art so dependent upon the fostering care of a luxury-loving class should have been entirely superseded by the sterner requirements of self-defence, to say nothing of the repairs necessitated by the ravages of war, pestilence, and famine. Those two centuries, so dreadful to France and so discouraging to French glaziers, produced in England the greatest flowers of this craft. It is, therefore, clear that if one wishes to obtain a comprehensively consecutive knowledge of stained glass on both sides of the Channel, he must leave France and cross over to England when the thread of his studies has obtained so far as the Decorated and the Perpendicular. When, however, he reaches the sixteenth century he must return to France, to revel in the wealth of Renaissance glass so wofully lacking in England.
After one has observed a sufficient number of windows to provide a basis for comparisons, it becomes easy to tell not only the epoch to which they belong, but also, in most instances, whether they are early or late in that epoch. In England one is assisted by an unusual amount of reliable information from two sources, viz., old records and heraldic [Pg 11]indications from the coats of arms which are so often displayed. There is so little sixteenth century glass in this country as to give but small opportunity to observe the characteristic Renaissance custom of placing the dates on the picture itself, which was then common in France. Of earlier windows, however, English records and a knowledge of heraldry give us the dates of many more than are obtainable for their contemporaries in France. By way of example, the original contracts date the glass at Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick, 1447; at King’s College, Cambridge, 1527; at York, in the nave, 1338, and in the choir, 1405, &c. A comparative and historical study of their heraldic blazons gives us a date for many of the windows at Bristol and at Wells, and of more still in private houses.
The duty of the glazier was to adorn the window embrasures constructed for him by the architect, and thus assist in the decoration of the church. It is obvious that the size and shape of these apertures must necessarily have had considerable, if not controlling, effect upon the styles and methods of the glazier. A glance at the conformation of these openings often tells the sub-divisions in which its glass belongs. During Norman times the window arch was round and the opening wide. In the Early English style the arch at the top becomes pointed and the embrasures narrower. When the Decorated time [Pg 12]arrives several narrow lights are grouped together, separated only by slender stone mullions, and culminating under the pointed arch at the top in a group of gracefully adjusted small apertures called tracery lights. The Perpendicular architect did little but straighten out the lines of his predecessors, especially in the traceries, so that they, as well as the mullions, should produce the effect of upright parallels which gave this type its name. In the sixteenth century the Renaissance architect provided large windows, and the glazier filled them with great pictures of splendid colour.
In our investigation of English glass of the Early English (or mosaic) period, we shall often find ourselves regretting the almost entire absence of rose windows, so frequent and splendid across the Channel, where those great blossoms of Gothic architecture provided such glorious opportunities for the decorating hand of the glazier. For this lack we shall later on find ample compensation (especially during Decorated and Perpendicular times) in the huge sheet of glass filling the great east window of many English churches. While the southern architect decided in favour of the rounded apse for the east end of his cathedrals, his northern neighbour preferred a square ended one, thus permitting a fine broad embrasure, broken only by narrow mullions, and providing a golden chance for the glazier, which he lost no time [Pg 13]in seizing. Therefore, if we miss the innumerable rose windows of France, it is but fair to state that it possesses nothing that can vie with the great expanse of glowing colour found at the east end of York or Gloucester or Malvern.
It is clear that the glass artist, whatever his nationality, had at all times to take heed of the architecture which provided the setting for his glass, and which his work was to help decorate. It is but natural, therefore, that his designs should have been influenced by the prevailing architectural style, and this was particularly true in England during the prevalence of both the Decorated and the Perpendicular schools. When the time arrived to change from the mosaic method of constructing stained glass, the whole effort of the Englishman seemed to have been devoted to making his new product conform to the new Decorated style of building. Not so his neighbour across the Channel, for there everything was then being sacrificed to the demand for better lighted interiors, even to the extent of filling much of his embrasures with grisaille, and using deep colour only in the borders or in bands of canopy-framed figures across parts of the windows (Sées, Evreux). The need for more illumination did not exist in England, for in that land of cloudy skies and infrequent sunshine they had already realised how greatly mosaic medallion glass obscured the light, [Pg 14]and, therefore, had early struck out for themselves, and developed an admirable use of grisaille, as one may see at York and Salisbury. They had already solved the problem of better illumination, and were that much ahead of their French neighbours. In France, because of light-admitting grisaille then demanded (either alone or in conjunction with the early canopies), the fourteenth century window gives a lighter effect than when later on, in the fifteenth century, the artist dispensed with the grisaille, enlarged his canopy completely to fill its lancet, and, thanks to the development of coated glass—i.e., several layers of different colours permitting, in combination, a wide range of hues—introduced more varied and richer colouring in both figures and costumes. In England, however, where light-admitting grisaille had already been freely used during the mosaic period, and the glazier began the fourteenth century untrammelled by any sudden demand for brilliant illumination, we shall easily observe a tendency directly contrary to that just remarked in France. The English Decorated windows are much deeper in tone than the Perpendicular ones which followed them. These latter seemed to have proved a satisfactory solution of the lighting problem for the English climate. Indeed, we shall see some at St. Neot, manufactured as late as 1530, that are copied after others of the preceding century, and yet [Pg 15]the later ones are obviously from the hand of an artist so skilful as to have readily worked in the contemporary Renaissance manner, had he not deliberately preferred the earlier one.
Those who desire to study this subject seriously should read Lewis F. Day’s excellent “Windows of Stained Glass” (1897).
Our glass-hunting tours will take us into almost every part of England. We shall go up and down the east coast cathedrals, from York in the north to Canterbury in the south-east. We shall also wander through the entire range of southern counties, and see the whole coast from Winchester, west through Salisbury and Exeter to St. Neot, far off in Cornwall, hard by Land’s End. But it will be in that corner of England which lies between Oxford and the Welsh border, that the greatest wealth of windows will be found. We shall arrange the tours so that the order in which the windows are viewed will conform chronologically with the stages of the craft’s development. It will, of course, largely depend on whether he elects to travel by rail, by automobile, or by bicycle, just how slavishly the pilgrim follows the order in which the towns have been set out. The trips have been arranged with an eye to geography rather than to railway time-tables—geography is so much more stable than “Bradshaw’s General Railway Guide”! The omission from the list of sundry important cathedrals, like Durham, [Pg 18]Ely, Peterborough, Worcester, &c., is caused by the deplorable fact that all their ancient stained glass has been destroyed.
The order of towns is as follows:
|Early English Epoch||·||Salisbury, Canterbury, Lincoln,|
|Decorated Epoch||·||York, Norbury, Shrewsbury,|
Bristol, Wells, Exeter,
|Perpendicular Epoch||·||Oxford, Fairford, Cirencester,|
Malvern, Little Malvern,
|Renaissance Epoch||·||London, Cambridge, Lichfield,|
Guildford, Gatton, Knole.
In selecting the order of the above itineraries, we have ended the first, or Early English period, at York, because that city is not only rich in early[Pg 19] mosaic glass, but also in that of the Decorated period, thus making it most convenient for us there to begin the second or Decorated tour. In the same manner we have concluded the itinerary of the Decorated period at Oxford, for there are found not only Decorated, but also Perpendicular windows, thus permitting us to commence the Perpendicular tour in the same city which ends our Decorated one. York is set down as the last of the Perpendicular trip, but if our pilgrim has already visited that city on either the Early English or the Decorated tour, he will doubtless also have seen all of its Perpendicular glass, which will obviate the necessity for again making the long journey north. In that event, with York left out of the Perpendicular tour, it will prove to be much more condensed, both as to territory and distance, than either of the two earlier ones. The last, or Renaissance epoch, has but few examples in England, and these are so widely separated that it seems best to break them up into two tours. Of the seven places cited (London, Cambridge, Lichfield, Shrewsbury, Guildford, Gatton, and Knole) the best English glass is at London and Cambridge, while that at Lichfield is Flemish, and most of that at Shrewsbury German.
For tables of distances, &c., see pp. 251-254.
We shall find it more convenient to group all early glass under the heading of “Early English,” although it will be found not only in its own narrow, pointed-arched windows, but also before that, in the round-arched ones of the Norman style. So slow was the development of our craft during all the time covered by those two schools of architecture as to make it hardly proper or necessary that our subject be likewise divided into two epochs. During both of them there is found richly coloured glass of the “mosaic” type, and also uncoloured windows of the sort styled by the French “grisaille.” Obviously, uncoloured glass admits much more light than that made up of rich dark hues, and, therefore, it is but natural that the glazier who dwelt in a cloudy northern land should early have realised the need for sufficient light in his churches, a need which did not concern his fellow craftsmen in the sunny lands of the south. Indeed if he had not appreciated this practical side of his craft he would not have been the artist which his windows prove him to have been. The glaziers of [Pg 24]sunny Italy were never confronted with this problem of sufficient illumination—if anything, they had too much, no matter how richly they painted the panes. Their fellows in France had less sunlight than they, but more than the English, and therefore occupied an intermediate ground in the matter of church illumination; the result was that the French neglected it so entirely during both the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and so darkened their interiors by heavily leaded mosaic glazing as to bring about, at the opening of the fourteenth century, a sudden revulsion in favour of better lighted interiors, which went so far as to produce the excessive light and glare observable at Sées, St. Ouen (Rouen) and Evreux. This sudden revulsion did not appear in England where, indeed, there were no grounds for it, because, as we have just seen, the glaziers had already thoroughly grasped the need for, as well as the value of, light-admitting grisaille. That they thoroughly mastered the technique of uncoloured glass we will readily conclude from the splendid monuments to their genius in the “Five Sisters” at York, and the grisaille in the south transept at Salisbury, ideal glazing for a land of infrequent sunshine. Turning from these untinted windows to those filled with colour, one notices at once that the early examples of the latter are made up of very small pieces of different hues bound together by winding strips of lead having little [Pg 25]sunken channels on both sides to hold the glass in place. So small are these pieces that the windows seem to have been composed much in the same way that the diminutive cubes are assembled to make a mosaic. It is because of this striking similarity of method, that this early glazing, constructed of small fragments, is frequently referred to as “mosaic” glass. Another name which it often receives is also easily explainable. The stories on these early windows are told by groups of very small figures, and to prevent a chaotic multitude of these little persons spread over the glass, each episode or group is separated from the others by a frame of contrasting colour, thus breaking up the whole surface into medallions. For this reason, early mosaic glazing is sometimes spoken of as “medallion glass.” Unfortunately for England, it possesses but few remains of this delightful product, and therefore suffers sadly by comparison with the great wealth of it to be seen in France. We shall find enough, however, at Canterbury and Lincoln to kindle our enthusiasm for the splendid jewelled glow which the glazier of that time, and of no other, knew how to make his windows produce. It will not take long for the intelligent observer to notice that this glitter is due partly to the fact that the glass is free from paint (except that used to delineate features, folds of garments, &c.), and partly because its surface is not regular as is ours to-day. Furthermore, [Pg 26]the pieces were small, and the constantly recurring leadlines (breaking up and combining the rays of light coming through the little panes) assisted materially to produce the brilliancy and shimmer which so delight the eye. There is no doubt that the glazier thoroughly realised this, and availed himself of this mingling of the coloured rays to suit the purposes of his picture. We frequently see a thirteenth century window that produces a purple effect, and yet a closer inspection will reveal that there is only red and blue glass used in it, but so cunningly have they been intermingled as to produce a much warmer purple than any sheet of purple glass could render. Some writers would have us believe that the glazier had no choice but to use these small bits in building up his picture, and that therefore the rich glowing effect was the result of chance, and not that of intelligent deliberation. Any one who has been fortunate enough to visit St. Maurice’s Cathedral at Angers is amply equipped to refute this theory, and will be prepared to give full credit to the glazier of the thirteenth century, for, in that church, the twelfth century mosaic glass of the nave is readily seen to be composed of much larger fragments than were employed in the choir by the thirteenth century man. These latter in the choir glisten and glitter, while the earlier ones in the nave, composed of larger pieces, do not. This indicates that the improvement [Pg 27]shown by the thirteenth century windows over those of the twelfth century was caused by artistic intelligence, and at the expense of more labour to the glazier, because in lessening the size of his panes, he greatly increased the work of leading them together. As he purposely used smaller fragments, he should receive full credit for his splendid results. Those who have been so fortunate as to see the French thirteenth century windows will not only regret the fewness of examples of that period in England, but will also remark the dearth there of the great rose windows so frequent in France. Furthermore, he will notice that in the case of English medallion windows, the medallions are smaller than those across the Channel; this is caused by the fact that the lancets of the Early English school were narrower than contemporary French ones, and therefore necessitated a smaller medallion. While it is true that it is only at Lincoln that one finds the splendid rose windows which reach their greatest perfection in France, compensation for their absence is found in the development in their place of a style of window almost unknown in France, i.e., the great east window, of which such superb examples will be seen during the next (or Decorated) period at York, Bristol, and many other places. This difference in the development of the largest light aperture of a church is due to the architect; in [Pg 28]France he built the eastern end of his churches round, but in England they were square, thereby permitting a large sheet of glazing at the east end, which the French rounded apse could not afford. It is gratifying to note the way in which the genius of the glazier, no matter where he lived, seized upon and developed to the utmost the artistic possibilities of his glass, and, furthermore, how cleverly he adapted them to the structures prepared for him by his architect. We shall see at Canterbury, more clearly even than elsewhere, that in the manufacture of this early mosaic glass the English glaziers followed the French models. In “Stained Glass Tours in France,” p. 17, we have made some conjectures as to the beginnings of glass in France and whence it came into that country. Indications appear to be in favour of its first steps being guided by a group of enamellers in Limoges, who were instructed or influenced by a colony of Venetians that settled near by in 979, bringing with them their Byzantine art. Whatever opinion we may hold, there can be no doubt that a striking similarity in drawing, colouring, &c., is to be remarked between stained glass of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Limoges enamels of those two and the two preceding centuries, and the Byzantine mosaics of St. Mark’s in Venice, &c.
Even though we shall encounter but few examples of this period in England, a tour of the towns in which they are to be found will perhaps yield us more interesting glimpses into history than our later tours, far richer though they may be in glass. Starting at ancient Salisbury hard by the site of Druid Stonehenge, we follow the oldest of English national roads, the “Pilgrim’s Way,” through Winchester (for so long the English capital) on to Canterbury with its dramatic history of the martyred archbishop. Close to Canterbury are Chartham and Willesborough; these may be seen en route from Salisbury. Thence we go north to Lincoln, and, after an interesting visit to its sanctuary-crowned hilltop, we will push on still further north to York, that treasure-house of glass of this as well as of all periods. Although we end our first tour in that city, we shall also be able there to begin our second one, and may also, if we choose, inspect the glass of a still later (the Perpendicular) epoch.
There is no country in the world whose ancient history is writ so large upon its broad acres as old England. It is full of silent testimonials to past events which render those early days and their happenings more vivid than any printed page can hope to effect. Many of these remains are of such remote antiquity as to long antedate our glass, but nevertheless we must not be so prejudiced as to neglect them when encountered on our travels. Indeed, it may well be that the existence of other attractions of this sort may secure for us the company of certain archæological friends who at first will have but small interest in glass. Nor need we distress ourselves about how small that interest may be; for if they, for any reason, accompany us, our charming windows will surely make converts of them long before the journey is ended. These same archæological folk will tell us that few localities in England can show more extraordinary historical remains than Stonehenge and Old Sarum near Salisbury. The great upright monoliths of Stonehenge, stationed in the form of a horse-shoe within a circle, loom up in[Pg 31] such a solitary and impressive way upon the great reaches of Salisbury Plain as to produce a mental picture long to be remembered. Their very isolation makes them much more striking than the voluminous remains of a similar nature erected also by the Druids on the west coast of Brittany. As for Old Sarum, it is now nothing but a lofty fortified camp, but the enclosure within its circle of high walls formerly contained a town which was the predecessor of Salisbury. The shape of this high truncated cone recalls the pictures of the Tower of Babel that used to appear in our child’s geographies. Whatever may have been the real cause for the removal of Salisbury to its present site, the one generally alleged was that Sarum lacked water—this certainly cannot be charged against the present city, which is so sorely harassed at certain seasons of the year by local floods, as well to merit the name often given it of the “English Venice.” Its vast cathedral is much more regular and balanced in its proportions than are most examples of mediæval church architecture. The two great twin spires are esteemed the most beautiful in England. To one who has become accustomed to the archaic appearance of most European cathedrals, Salisbury will prove quite a surprise; in the words of Emerson, “The cathedral, which was finished six hundred years ago, has even a spruce and modern air.” This splendid building, [Pg 32]even if it were not so impressive as it is, would have been rendered sufficiently picturesque because of the setting provided by the shaded walks and green swards of its Close. Within the roomy interior are examples not only of thirteenth century medallion glass, but also some of the best types of English grisaille of that period. Because of the belief that the doors, windows and pillars exactly coincide respectively with the number of months, days and hours in the year, Thomas Fuller said, “All Europe affords not such an almanac of architecture.” We are concerned only with that portion of the almanac that has to do with the days. An old rhyme says:
“As many days as in one year there be
So many windows in this church we see.”
Notwithstanding the great number of light apertures thus provided by the architect, the glazier was not permitted to make excessive use of the light-obscuring coloured mosaic glass, as was then the custom in France. Grisaille was plentifully used, and Salisbury was famous for it. Most of its remains are found in the upper lancets at the south end of the easterly transepts, as well as a little in the west windows of the nave aisles, the east one of the choir aisles, and the lower triplet in the south end of the small transepts. Two of the easterly clerestory lights of the large northern transept also show this early [Pg 33]pattern glass. Instead of filling the other embrasures with rudely contrasting modern glazing, a very intelligent effort has been made throughout the choir and transept to model as closely as possible upon these ancient examples. The result is very agreeable—at least it contrives to give us some idea of how the church must have looked with its original windows all complete. Little touches of colour are very judiciously interspersed throughout the strapwork, and serve to correct what otherwise might be dull-toned. Blue is very extensively used here for this purpose, and to a greater extent than is usually found elsewhere. It tones in admirably with the greenish hue of the glass, and enriches it without risking too striking a contrast. The thirteenth century medallion remains have been collected into the three lancets at the western end. Note especially the plentiful and interesting fragments of the Tree of Jesse done in mosaic style which has been introduced in two parallel columns into the central lancet: the borders are contemporary. The side lancets are not so satisfactorily filled, for the combination of strips of later glass separated by equally wide ones of old grisaille, and all surrounded by a rich old border on ruby and blue backgrounds, is not pleasing. The medallions are interesting, but nothing like so fine as we shall see elsewhere. We shall chiefly remember Salisbury [Pg 34]Cathedral for the effective glazing of its choir and transepts afforded by thirteenth century grisaille eked out with good modern glass copied after it.
One does not have to search far in the records of Salisbury to find why there is so little remaining of its ancient glazing. Time has been materially aided and abetted in its work of destruction by ruthless restorations, of which the worst was Wyatt’s in the eighteenth century. We read that “whole cartloads of glass, lead, and other rubbish were removed from the nave and transepts, and shot into the town ditch, then in course of being filled up; whilst a good deal of similar rubbish was used to level the ground near the chapter-house.” Nor was destruction the only means used to get rid of the Salisbury windows, as will appear from the following letter written to Mr. Lloyd, of London, in 1788, by John Berry, a glazier of Salisbury:
“Sir.—This day I have sent you a Box full of old Stained & Printed glass, as you desired me to due, which I hope will sute your Purpos, it his the best that I can get at Present. But I expect to Beate to Peceais a great deal very sune, as it his of now use to me, and we do it for the lead. If you want more of the same sorts you may have what thear is, if it will pay you for taking out, as it is a Deal of Truble to what Beating it to Peceais his; you will send me a line as soon as Possable, for we are goain to move our [Pg 35]glasing shop to a Nother plase and thin we hope to save a great deal more of the like sort, which I ham your most Omble servent—John Berry.”
There is also later glass to be seen here. St. Thomas’s Church, in the first embrasure from the east of the north aisle, has the remains of a Decorated Tree of Jesse, in which, as well as in other fragments along the traceries, there is a good deal of yellow stain observable. In the vestry, which is off the north aisle, are three small lancets upon which appear figures against quarry backgrounds not as usual ensconced in canopies. The wooden ceilings in the north and south aisles are especially fine.
For the Perpendicular glass at Salisbury see p. 192.
Even a careless observer of the life and customs of the Middle Ages will have noticed that one of its most extraordinary features is the extent to which people of every European country went upon pilgrimages. The nature and object of these religious journeys varied widely, running the gamut from the Crusades to the visiting of neighbouring shrines. The history of the Crusades is well known, but perhaps few of us realise the tremendous interest taken in the more domestic and near-by pilgrimages. The English were like all the rest of Christendom in this curious craze, and for several centuries the most revered, as well as the most popular of their many shrines was that of the martyred Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. More highly prized than any other similar trophy was the small leaden flask hung about the neck of one who had taken that journey, and was thus qualified to bear away this pilgrim’s token filled with water from the holy well beneath the cathedral. A modern counterpart is afforded by the value Mohammedans set upon the wearing of a green turban, the privilege[Pg 37] accorded to one who has visited Mecca. Although Canterbury had always since the earliest days possessed many saintly relics, a marked increase in the number of pilgrims was noted after the martyrdom of à Becket. These pilgrimages steadily grew in vogue until when, in the fifteenth century, they had reached their height, not only did the stream of travellers continue steadily throughout the year, but during the months of December and July (anniversaries of the martyrdom and the transference of the relics) we read that the numbers swelled to such an extent that the housing facilities of the little city were greatly overtaxed. A jubilee was held every fifty years, and on these occasions the crowds grew to enormous size. During the jubilee of 1420 we are told that over 100,000 pilgrims were gathered in the city at the same time. Hay and wood were provided gratuitously for them, a bounty which the cathedral could well afford, because of the great value of the gifts constantly received from these visitors. It is easy to see how important a nationalising influence must have resulted from this meeting together of all classes of society from different parts of the country. How widely these pilgrims varied in station and occupation can be gathered from Chaucer’s inimitable “Canterbury Tales.” Those amusing chronicles also show that while religion was doubtless a powerful motive in causing these [Pg 38]pilgrimages, there was besides a great deal of what is called to-day “the desire for foreign travel.” In fact, it is difficult to find much religious flavour in the tales of merriment and adventure which follow each other in this delightful series. Chaucer probably selected a Canterbury pilgrimage as the setting for his poem in order to appeal to a great number of readers, for he well knew the kingdom to be full of people who had taken this journey, and to whom, therefore, his tales would be of peculiar interest. Although Chaucer was the son and grandson of vintners, he won his way into high favour at Court, a hint of which is obtained from the fact that Edward III. paid £16 (then a considerable sum) to ransom him after his capture by the French.
Thirteenth Century medallions; notice circular and other forms enclosing the figures. The heavy iron bars needed to support the great weight of lead are skilfully adjusted to the design. The world-famous shrine stood in the centre of this space. Tomb of Black Prince in foreground, and above it armour he wore at Crécy
Another group of equally diverting but more whimsical poems are inseparably connected with this neighbourhood. Rev. Richard Barham lived near Canterbury, and many of his engaging Ingoldsby Legends have their scenes laid there, some within the cathedral precincts. The county of Kent, of which Canterbury is the chief city, is peopled by a sturdy folk who have always been jealous of their rights and insistent upon their own interpretation of the law, as, for example, although primogeniture existed almost everywhere else in England, Kent always preferred gavelkind (an equal division of property among the children of the deceased). As illustrating [Pg 39]the strength of Kentish traditions, it is amusing to note that one must remember carefully to apply the expression “Kentish man” to a dweller in the western half of the county, and “Man of Kent” to him of the eastern. Confuse these two designations at your peril! There is a bit of local history which has a fine heroic flavour, and which points our moral excellently. After William the Conqueror had won the battle of Hastings, all Kent, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, gathered to protect its ancient rights against the invader. They marched forth to meet William at Swanscourt, each man fully armed, and carrying above him a green bough to mask the numbers of their host. William’s surprise and perplexity at seeing this perambulating forest approaching him can well be imagined. When he inquired the reason for it, there came the fine reply that Kent demanded its ancient rights, and if granted them would live peaceably under his rule, but if they were to be denied, then there must be instant war! The politic Norman complied with their request, and the Kentish forest marched off.
So beautiful are the distant prospects of Canterbury Cathedral that excellent æsthetic reasons may be advanced for the religious custom that required all mounted pilgrims to dismount as soon as they could spy the Angel Steeple, and complete the last [Pg 40]stage of the pilgrimage on foot. Proceeding in this more leisurely fashion, the beauties of the picturesque grouping of the buildings about the cathedral developed slowly before their eyes.
On descending into the town, many interesting sights meet one’s view in the quaint winding streets and narrow lanes. The name of one of these, Watling Street, recalls the fact that through this city ran that great Roman road. Another element of the picturesque is added by the meandering through the town of the river Stour, over whose narrow stream project many of the houses. Finally we arrive at a large gatehouse, whose modest portal affords access to the sacred precincts, and introduces us to a series of most delightful pictures, for there are few cathedrals in the world placed in so charming a setting. An old legend gravely narrates that when the walls of the sanctuary were heightened about the middle of the tenth century, the building was, perforce, roofless for three years, and that during that period no rain fell within this favoured enclosure! We need not stop to consider the different features of the architecture which have delighted so many eyes and are so well known from photographs and other reproductions. We must, however, note in passing that during à Becket’s exile he chanced to be in Sens at the very time that the great French architect, William of Sens, was finishing the first [Pg 41]attempt in pointed Gothic. This probably explains why, when the choir of Canterbury Cathedral was destroyed by fire, the monks in 1174 summoned William to rebuild it. During the work he fell from the scaffold and received injuries from which he died. The selection of that foreign architect assists in explaining why the mosaic glass at Canterbury so closely resembles the late twelfth century windows at Sens, and permits us to conjecture that with the French architect there came over French glaziers. The French Gothic which was here introduced by William of Sens was, to a certain extent, copied elsewhere. Traces of it at York Cathedral are doubtless due to the fact that the Archbishop of York who caused its introduction had been Archdeacon at Canterbury during the time that William of Sens was working there. We will enter the church and press on to the northern transept, where took place that tragic episode resulting from the constant strife between Henry II. and the proud churchman à Becket. In the dimness of this old-world corner one can almost live over again the scene at twilight, December 29, 1170, when the four knights, taunted into exasperation by à Becket’s hot words, cut down the defenceless priest, thinking thus to serve their royal master. Not only did this base act bring upon Henry the open shame of being forced to do most abject penance before the shrine of his [Pg 42]sainted victim, but it also produced many extraordinary results of widely differing nature during the centuries to follow. Just after the assassination the monks, upon removing the garments of their murdered chief, found, to their great surprise, that beneath the rich raiment of him whom they had always mistrusted as a brilliant courtier, was worn the haircloth shirt of their monastic order. Their sudden revulsion of feeling, and the religious enthusiasm which overcame them at that sight, seems prophetic of other revulsions that were to take place during the Middle Ages in the attitude of the public mind towards this bloody page of Church history. Just as then their feelings abruptly changed, so after wealth and costly gifts had flowed to this shrine for centuries, and almost every city in Christendom had an altar or a church dedicated to St. Thomas, suddenly men of thought became disgusted by the many reprehensible features connected with this cult, which, perhaps, were only the natural results of the throngs attending the pilgrimages. The pendulum, which had swung too high on one side, swept back to the other extreme; and this brings us to one of the strangest parts of this story, if not, indeed, the weirdest in all the annals of the law. Henry VIII. cast covetous eyes upon the hoard of jewels gathered together in Canterbury Cathedral, so he instituted a legal proceeding to enable him to lay hold [Pg 43]upon them. As royal successor to Henry II. he caused the Attorney-General in 1538 to bring suit against à Becket for treason, and had the papers duly served upon the famous shrine! Counsel was appointed to represent the long dead subject, and the case was argued with all the pomp and circumstance of legal warfare. The martyr was found guilty, and all the wealth of his shrine was declared escheated to the Crown. We read that it was necessary to employ twenty-six carts to carry off the booty. Could anything be more strange and fantastic than so material an outcome to the wild deed of the four knights!
Of the other tombs here, the most interesting are those of Henry IV. and the Black Prince. Above the latter is suspended the armour worn by him at the battle of Crécy.
Before commencing to examine the stained glass, we must warn the reader that it suffered severely at the hands of that arch-ruffian of all glass destroyers, Dick Culmer (or “Blue Dick,” as he was called), the minister in charge of the Abbey during the Commonwealth. So violently opposed to his appointment were the townspeople that they locked all the cathedral’s doors against him, thus forcing him to effect his first entrance by breaking in one of the windows—an evil omen! No sooner was he installed than he set diligently to work to destroy the stained [Pg 44]glass, and, furthermore, openly boasted of his energy in that respect. In his “Cathedral News from Canterbury,” he says, “A minister on top of the city ladder, nearly sixty steps high, with a whole pike in his hand, rattling down proud Becket’s glassie bones when others present would not venture so high.” This glass, so destroyed, was in the north transept.
There is but little mosaic medallion thirteenth century glass in England, and therefore what there is of it at Canterbury would for that reason alone have great value, but because the examples there found are among the best of that period now extant, its importance is thereby greatly enhanced. An ancient supplement to the “Canterbury Tales” relates, with amusing conversational detail, how the pilgrims, upon entering the church by the south-western door of the nave, at once fell to admiring the windows and studying out their legends. The ruthless hand of time, assisted by those of Dick Culmer and Co., have made it impossible for us to enjoy that same pleasure, but certain fragments of that glass gathered together into the western window give a hint of what the beauty of the complete series must have been. With this exception there is nothing to detain one long in the nave, so we will pass on to the eastern end of the church to inspect the remaining contemporary windows—they are the [Pg 45]finest of their type in England, and will be found in the north choir aisle, the circular apse at the extreme easterly end (known as Becket’s Crown) and Trinity Chapel. There has been preserved for us an old Latin list describing and locating all the windows in their original order, and from this we learn that the ancient panels now in the north choir aisle between the easterly transept and the chapel of the Martyrdom (north end of the westerly transepts) were formerly in the embrasures of the latter. Their workmanship is very fine, and they tell their parables with great distinctness. Proceeding eastward to Becket’s Crown, we shall be afforded an edifying opportunity to observe how much more brilliant and generally delightful are the old mosaic medallions than even the best modern copies. The oldest window dates from the middle of the thirteenth century, and it takes but a glance to betray those of its companions which are modern. The improvements of centuries in glass manufacture fail utterly to yield us an equivalent for the brilliancy of the crudely constructed panels of that time. The most interesting and, for various reasons, the most valuable medallions are those filling the six windows of Trinity Chapel which retain their original glazing. In those on the north side of where the shrine used to stand, are medallions whose groups display miracles performed by the saint, or episodes illustrative of his healing [Pg 46]power. At the top of the second from the east on this side is a medallion of very peculiar interest because it depicts Benedict’s vision of the saint emerging from his shrine in full canonicals and moving toward the high altar to say mass. Examine it carefully, for here we have the only representation now existing of that world-renowned shrine, whose lavish decoration of gold and jewels so roused the cupidity of Henry VIII. as to cause its destruction. There is every reason to believe this to be a veracious reproduction, for being installed directly opposite and a few yards from the shrine of which it was the counterfeit presentment, any but a careful copy thereof would have been useless in telling the window’s story. More of this splendid glass is found filling the lower embrasures along the north side between the two sets of transepts, and also above in the three upper half-circle windows, both on this and the opposite side of the church ambulatory; note the mellow richness of their reds and blues. The central embrasure of the most easterly or Trinity Chapel retains its early mosaic medallions, easily distinguished from the modern imitations on either side. High up in the north wall of the easterly transepts is a rose window which retains its thirteenth century glazing in the large central circle, but alas! white glass replaces all but the borders of the outer circles, thus drowning the old glass in a glare of light [Pg 47]and utterly extinguishing the splendid glow which would otherwise delight our eyes. Although the handsome five-light Decorated window on the south side of St. Anselm’s Chapel (lying off the south choir aisle) has lost its original glass, the records of the cost contain features of interest. The contract for its construction is dated 1336, and the items of expense (which total £42 17s. 2d.) indicate that the heavy iron saddle-bars, &c., required to support the great quantity of lead used in joining the glass, cost almost as much as the glazing; £4 4s. 0d. was paid for twenty hundredweight of iron, £6 13s. 4d. “for glass and the labour of the glaziers.”
The chief window of the north-west transept, generally called the chapel of the Martyrdom, was presented by Edward IV., and when complete must have been a fine example of the Perpendicular school. Its seven tall lancets are broken into four tiers, and surmounted by handsome tracery lights. Here formerly appeared “The Seven Glorious Appearances of the Virgin,” with à Becket in the centre, but “Blue Dick” Culmer destroyed them all while engaged in his pleasing task of “rattling down proud Becket’s glassie bones.” Notwithstanding the treatment to which this window was subjected, it still presents a very attractive appearance. The original fragments have been collected within coloured borders and throw into bold relief the richly toned kneeling [Pg 48]figures of Edward IV. and his wife, which are placed facing each other. Behind the queen are stationed her five daughters, divided into one group of three and another of two, while behind the king are the two little princes, who were later murdered in the Tower of London. The backgrounds behind the figures are noteworthy because they are composed of repetitions of the badge of each individual; behind the king are the white roses and suns of York; behind the queen, green thistles; feathers behind the Prince of Wales, &c. Above them is a tier of white-robed angels with red wings, against backgrounds of blue or green, supporting heraldic shields. Just below this window and leading off to the east is the Dean’s Chapel, lighted on the east by a very pleasant quarry window, upon each of whose panes appears in yellow stain the double knot which indicates the donor to have been Archbishop Bourchier, whom we shall encounter later on at Knole. A relieving note of colour is lent by the shield of arms at the bottom of each lancet. Three of the small windows that light the picturesque little baptistery contain effigies of ecclesiastical dignitaries and saints within richly toned borders, while in the small traceries above them are heraldic blazons.
Splendid as this noble cathedral now is, how much more impressive must it have been when all its [Pg 49]windows were filled with mosaic medallions through which a warmly tinted illumination tempered the minster gloom. It is difficult to repress the anachronistic wish that the knights who came here seeking to slay à Becket might instead have wreaked their lust for blood upon “Blue Dick” Culmer!
Near Canterbury there are some Early English fragments at Chartham, four miles west on the road to Maidstone. They are in the tracery lights on the north side of the chancel. In one of these small openings there has been inserted a baptismal scene, but because it is upside down the water seems like a cross between a shower-bath and the sword of Damocles! The chief reason for stopping at this church is the very agreeable lighting of its chancel in the Decorated manner. In the two embrasures on the north side have been collected all that remains of the original pattern glass, but the other lights have been glazed as much like these two as possible. A mellow richness, not often seen, is the chief characteristic of this low-toned grisaille, overrun with graceful coloured designs. In its perfection that style was most attractive. In a south-easterly suburb of Ashford called Willesborough there are in the chancel a couple of very complete and pleasing Decorated windows. They both have quarry backgrounds with coloured borders, but the one to the [Pg 50]north is much more attractive. Upon its surface are not only the coloured bosses seen in the one across the chancel, but also some handsome canopy-framed figures. The leaf design on the borders should be noted, and also the labels below the figures.
A golden-brown cathedral crowning the summit of a solitary hill rising from a wide plain—so Lincoln lingers in one’s memory!
Few towns have their situation more clearly described by their names than this one, derived, as it is, from “llin” a mere, and “dun” a hill, a hill above a mere. The plain is now drained of the marshes which formerly overspread it, but the great isolated mount remains always the same, and upon the summit is stationed, like a splendid sentinel, the mighty bulk of the cathedral. Rarely, indeed, does a great church have so dominating and superb a site, nor is it often that so prominent a point is crowned by such a noble structure. Near it is the ancient castle, built first by the Romans and later strengthened by warriors of other races equally quick to appreciate the military strength of its commanding position. From the tower at one corner of its perfectly preserved ramparts is afforded a most inspiring view in every direction. Nor were the great walls of the cathedral less serviceable in [Pg 52]affording a strong refuge in war. It needs but a glance at the sturdy west front to show why Stephen in 1141, during the war of the Barons, finding the Earls of Lincoln and Chester in possession of the castle, threw himself into the adjacent cathedral and thus secured as strong a fortress as they. Not only is the western façade very beautiful, but it is also a manifestation, rare in England, of the practice usual in France of making this portion of the exterior the most important of all. Here at Lincoln it is as if a wide mask of stone had been built on to the end of the nave, lending as great an impression of width as one gets of height by a similar trick at Peterborough. These two are almost the only attempts in England to use this façade for other than simply closing the end of the edifice. The result at Lincoln is most imposing, but it produces its best effect when seen from a little distance, because then one gets the great sweep of the lines, relieved by the galleries of statues and warmed by the yellowish brown of the stone. A nearer inspection discloses how the later work has been pieced on to the older, which tends to distract our attention from the front as a whole. Not satisfied with the great strength of the building itself, permission was early obtained from the Crown to surround the Close with walls and gates, of which the picturesque Exchequer gate survives. This enclosure goes by the name of the Minster Yard. [Pg 53]When visiting the little hamlet of Dorchester we will remark upon how great was once its glory and how widely the sway of its Bishop then extended. This glory departed when Bishop Remigius (who built the central and oldest part of the Lincoln west front) decided about 1072 to remove his seat to the more lofty and far safer site upon Lincoln Hill. Before concluding the inspection of the cathedral’s exterior, it is timely to remark that through all the centuries it has been famous in story and song for its chime of bells. During the period when that delightful industry, the making of ballads, prevailed throughout England, there were many whose scenes were laid at Lincoln, and in almost every one of these some reference is made to “The bells o’ merrie Lincoln.”
Sad havoc has been played with the ancient glass, but here we cannot blame the Puritans alone. To be sure, they exercised their usual zeal in destroying the windows as far up as they could reach, but it must be admitted that they only completed the task earlier begun by the citizens, who were wont to amuse themselves by shooting with arrows and crossbow bolts at the roof and at the windows. This appears in the defence set up by the Dean when, during the time of Henry VIII., charges had been brought against him for permitting the cathedral to fall into such shocking disrepair. Notwithstanding [Pg 54]the efforts of the crossbow vandals and their successors, the Puritans, there has been preserved for us a very considerable amount of old glass, and that, too, of the Early English type, a period of which there are so few remains in England. These remnants are so placed as to be seen to great advantage. They fill the east windows of the north and south aisles of the choir, and the large windows in the end of the great northerly transept. The old glazing of the eastern windows of the north and south choir aisles is complete and very interesting. It is not so beautiful as it would have been if the spaces between the brilliant medallions had also been filled with colour instead of the greenish grisaille which the practical Englishman used so as to admit more light than would have been possible through the entirely coloured panes of his more artistic, if less utilitarian, French contemporary. He succeeded in getting his illumination, but he lost the jewelled shimmer that meets one’s eyes at Chartres and Reims. Moreover, there is also lacking the richness and solidity of tone which is so enjoyable in France. The French system was followed at Canterbury, and there is a marked difference in the effect of that glass from this at Lincoln. Unfortunately, the great east window between these two excellent aisle ones is filled with modern glass that suffers sadly by comparison with its ancient neighbours.
Passing to the transepts we shall encounter the pleasant custom so rare in England (though common in France) of giving a familiar name to a great window. Here the splendid northern rose is called “The Dean’s Eye,” and its sister to the south “The Bishop’s Eye,” which names they have borne for more than six hundred years. Many are the reasons that have been advanced for these titles, but probably the practical one is correct, viz., the Dean’s Eye faces the Deanery and the Bishop’s Eye the Bishop’s palace. Among the many fanciful and more poetic explanations there is one which, although it is less reasonable, we must be pardoned for finding more attractive, viz., as the north is the region of the Evil One, it is proper that the Dean’s Eye should look into that direction in order to guard against any attempt on his part to invade the sanctuary. The Bishop’s Eye is turned toward the sunny south, “The region of the Holy Spirit whose sweet influence alone can overcome the wiles of the wicked one.” The older of the pair, the Dean’s Eye, was probably glazed about 1220. It is best seen from the gallery or from the triforium which runs along just below it, and is a fine rose of the usual type. Below it there extends a row of five pointed lancets containing very light toned grisaille which almost entirely lacks the usual touches of colour. Below these are two larger lancets flanking the doorway; the one to the east has [Pg 56]grisaille quarries as a border and within, geometric designs in colour. The westerly lancet shows a vine in whose branches are angels playing upon musical instruments, the whole surrounded by grisaille touched with colour. Across in the southern end of these transepts is one of the most delightful windows to be seen anywhere, the Bishop’s Eye. Not only is this rose window a jewel of the glazier’s art, but the mason as well has added a wondrous charm by the lightness of his stone traceries and the curious interpenetrated stone frame which he has placed about it. The architect, too, has joined in beautifying the ensemble by stationing below it four large lancets of such harmonious proportions as admirably to balance and set off their more important neighbour just above them. In these lancets are found some Early English glass—broad borders of grisaille enframing the rich-toned medallions within. The Bishop’s Eye was glazed about the middle of the fourteenth century and yields a warm greenish grey light. Instead of having its lines radiate from the centre in the customary manner, its gracefully curved mullions tend to flow up and down and suggest the fibres of five great leaves standing upright side by side.
Tracery unusual in that it does not radiate from centre. Quantity of greenish grisaille used emphasises leaf-like design. Thirteenth Century medallions in the tall lancets below
To one approaching York by road, especially if coming by way of Scarcroft Hill, the ancient appearance of the town seems to translate it out of the Middle Ages. The dust-grey line of walls along the grassy banks that slope down to the moat, sweep far around in unbroken majesty, strengthened here and there by bastions or by a sturdy gatehouse. To complete the old-world picture, above the walls peep red-tiled gables, or occasionally the towers and spires of numerous churches, all dominated by the great bulk of the cathedral.
Insignificant historically ever since the days when the city of Eboren was the capital of Britain, York is chiefly known for the use of its name in two prolonged struggles (fought out, however, on other fields), the one between the House of York and Lancaster, called “The War of the Roses,” and the other the great contest lasting from 601 on till the middle of the fourteenth century to decide whether the Archbishop of York or he of Canterbury should be the Primate of England. York’s unimportance in English [Pg 58]history may be due partly to its situation too far north to have been in the heart of the constant struggle for power, and partly to the fact that it was so repeatedly ravaged by Danes and other invaders, the worst blow of all being when William the Conqueror gave all that neighbourhood such a dreadful harrowing that the lands from York to Durham laid untilled for nine years, and did not fully recover for centuries. Almost the sole exception to this unimportant rôle was the seven years during which Edward I. moved the law courts to York and made it his royal capital. Fortunately for the city, its connection with the bloody struggle of the rival Roses was almost entirely confined to lending its name to one of the Houses, for this great drama was chiefly enacted to the south of it. Although the other famous contest to which we alluded, and which dragged its weary length through nearly eight centuries, had to do only with ecclesiastical predominance, yet it exercised a potent influence upon the destinies of the generations it concerned. It is impossible to obtain a realising sense of men and events in the Middle Ages unless one takes into account the tremendous force, and that, too, a militant one, exercised by the great ecclesiastics. A striking example is provided by Archbishop Scrope of York, who aspired so high that he rebelled against his king and was only defeated after the strenuous campaign described in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV.” [Pg 59]He was executed at York in 1405. We remarked another example at Canterbury in the bloody ending of à Becket’s attempt to brave Henry II. Because he was Archbishop of Canterbury and opposed to the king, it is not surprising to find that the contemporary Archbishop of York, Roger Pont l’Evêque, was a staunch adherent of Henry. It was this very Roger who, in 1176, precipitated one of the many disgraceful rows that besmirched this struggle for the Primacy. The Papal Legate was presiding at the Council of Westminster, and à Becket’s successor, Richard of Canterbury, was seated on his right. Roger came in late, and, declining to accept any but the most honoured seat, sat down on Richard’s lap, whereupon a brawl ensued, ending in Roger’s discomfiture. Pitiable as was this scene, at least it was less disastrous to the people at large than many another episode of this tedious and acrimonious struggle, finally ended by the Bull of Pope Innocent VI., designating the Archbishop of Canterbury as the Primate of all England.
York is by all odds the most important of all English glass centres. Although one often finds occasion elsewhere to curse the glass-destroying Puritan, at York it must be admitted that the presence of so many ancient windows is due to the control exercised by Fairfax over his Parliamentary troops after a successful siege of the place. He well [Pg 60]deserved the butt of sack and tun of French wine voted him by the Corporation in recognition of his efforts in restraining the misguided enthusiasm of the soldiery. Indeed, his action here almost atones for the devilish tricks at Canterbury of “Blue Dick” Culmer.
Even the most casual observer, and one entirely unlearned in our beautiful art, cannot fail to notice how large an amount of wall-space is given over to ancient glass in York Minster. As a matter of fact it covers an area of more than 25,000 square feet, easily double that in any other English cathedral, and challenging comparison with any in the world. Nor are the examples confined to one epoch, for there are fragments of Norman mosaic medallions in the great transepts and the vestibule of the chapter-house, Early English in the “Five Sisters” and along the nave clerestory, Decorated in the nave and chapter-house, and Perpendicular in the choir. Not only are these examples plentiful, but they are of the first order. Entering by the door at the southern end of the great transepts, one is at once confronted by the five tall lancets opposite him in the north wall, filled with the most deliciously soft greyish green grisaille. Of their type there is nothing in the world to approach them for beauty. From where we stand the lead lines used in construction do not exist as lines, but melt away into a dainty film, like dew on the grass [Pg 61]at morn. This set of lights is gracefully grouped, and is known by the pleasantly familiar title of the “Five Sisters.” Many fanciful tales are told of when and where they were constructed and how they received this name. Dickens in his “Nicholas Nickleby” relates an engaging legend to explain how the design and the name were provided for them. That this legend has no basis in fact should not make us forget that his narrative has doubtless caused many of his readers to visit these windows—a most excellent justification. Dickens tells of five maiden ladies having worked upon a large piece of embroidery and how, years later, when four of them met together in York (the youngest, Alice, having been buried in the minster’s nave), “They sent abroad, to artists of great celebrity in those times (Henry IV.), and having obtained the church’s sanction to their work of piety, caused to be executed in five large compartments of richly stained glass, a faithful copy of their old embroidery work. These were fitted into a large window until that time bare of ornament; and when the sun shone brightly, as she had so well loved to see it, the familiar patterns were reflected in their original colours, and throwing a stream of brilliant light upon the pavement, fell warmly on the name of Alice.” Those of our company who are by nature critical may point out that the windows date from the thirteenth century, not [Pg 62]from the reign of Henry IV., and also that they contain grisaille, not colour, and further, that being at the end of the north transept, they could not very well throw a stream of light into the nave! The writer urges leniency of criticism, but nevertheless, one is forced to the melancholy conclusion that the great Dickens could never have delighted his eyes by this splendid glass, else he could not have made the windows coloured, or placed them in the nave! As for the four surviving sisters, they are certainly open to the severest censure in that they sent abroad for stained glass during the reign of Henry IV., because there was then the highest development of the art in England, and its product could not be approached by that of any foreign contemporaries. Close inspection discloses the design of the leads to be that of a graceful adjustment of the foliage of the benet plant. At the bottom of the central light is observable a panel of highly coloured mosaic glass. The glazing of the five small lancets above is modern. We must turn to the nave to see the rest of the Early English glass, of which, however, only fragments remain. They are to be found along the clerestory, in all of its tracery lights on the south side except the third from the west, and also some in its lower panes; on the north side they are in the traceries of the second from the west, the next five east of it, and also in the lower panels of the fifth and seventh.
Softly-toned grisaille with delicate patterns in faint colour. Of its type unsurpassed in the world. Note difference between mellow strength of this glass and thinness of modern glazing in upper tier of lancets
The church of St. Dennis, Walmgate, has attractive panels of early English glass dating from the latter half of the thirteenth century inserted in two Decorated windows on the north side of the church.
Before crossing the threshold into the two next periods (the Decorated and Perpendicular), it is worth pausing to notice that although architecture generally tends to elaborate as time goes on, the opposite was true in England during the two centuries of which we are about to speak. In fact, the work of the earlier of these two epochs obviously deserves the title of “Decorated” and the later does not. Its glass, too, is much more florid than its successor, and is far more ambitiously ornamental. It bears many bits of leafy foliage, twining vine tendrils, &c., all drawn as true to life as possible. Later these bits of flora are rarely used, and then only in a conventional and, therefore, less decorative form. In our introduction we have stated that in England, the arrival of the fourteenth century does not show the abrupt difference found in France between the light-obscuring mosaic glass of the thirteenth century and the fainter tints of the fourteenth, permitting the brighter interior then demanded. The explanation seems to be that the English, having been early forced by cloudy skies to [Pg 68]use light-admitting grisaille (either alone, or combined with their early medallions) already enjoyed the proper illumination which, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, was so lacking in France as to bring about a cry for light at any cost. In place of the early fourteenth century glare that strikes one at Sées, Evreux, and in St. Ouen at Rouen, we have rich strong colour in their contemporaries at Tewkesbury, Wells and Bristol. Occasionally grisaille will be found pleasantly combined with small coloured scenes, as at Dorchester and in Merton Chapel, Oxford, but even then it seems much like a local survival of the thirteenth century tradition. So much for the difference between the English Decorated and the French fourteenth century windows. Now let us briefly consider what it was that succeeded to the mosaic medallion style seen at Canterbury, Lincoln, &c., and also what causes must have been at work to produce the change. About the end of the thirteenth century there chanced to be discovered a method of producing yellow which obviated the necessity of cutting out a piece of glass of that tint and laboriously leading it into the picture where needed, as was still obligatory if they wanted blue or red, &c. Some lucky glazier stumbled on the fact that if chloride of silver be put on a sheet of glass it would, when exposed to the fire, produce a handsome golden stain, and that only at the points to which it [Pg 69]was applied. Many stories are related to explain this discovery, but as they are all more pleasing than convincing, it seems best to credit Dame Fortune with this valuable assistant to the glazier. It is obvious that this facility in staining a touch of yellow just at the point desired by the artist was eagerly seized upon. He at once made use of it to decorate the robes of great personages, or to brighten the hair of women and angels, as well as to liven any bits of stonework necessary to his drawing. It made possible the development of an unimportant detail in the earlier windows into the perfected result called the “Canopy window,” which we shall learn to know as a most useful and satisfactory combination of decoration and serviceability. It will be remembered that from the earliest times there frequently appeared above the heads of saints certain conventional coverings meant to indicate an architectural shelter. Upon the arrival of the Decorated period this detail became more complete, the roof being fully depicted (although as yet in flat drawing, with no attempt at perspective) and columns added at the side to support it, thus completely enclosing the little figures in a niche. Here we have the first, or Decorated canopy, now complete in form although crude. It must be noticed, however, that these canopies, generally drawn to a small scale, do not attempt alone to fill the embrasures, and either are shown in [Pg 70]bands across a ground of grisaille or occur alone surrounded by grisaille. Their architectural portion is of a strong brassy yellow, that colour being provided by pot metal glass leaded in. Now comes the next and final development. The discovery of yellow stain did away with the laborious need for leading in the yellow bits to simulate stonework, so the limit as to size of the canopy was removed, and at once they began to increase in dimensions. The obvious result ensued, each canopy was made to fill an entire lancet, its simulated stonework occupying as much surface as the enclosed figure, and we have the logical whole of a decorative colour panel within surrounded by a frame of lighter panes which admit the necessary amount of illumination. So satisfactory did this style of window prove that it persisted longer than almost any other type of glazing, and we must remember it is the discovery of yellow stain that we have to thank for making this result possible.
During the period we are now considering, the canopy was, of course, rather crude, in fact it looked more like a sentry-box than anything else. There was as yet no pedestal beneath it, and the pinnacles at the top showed entire ignorance of perspective, as well as of drawing in relief. During the Perpendicular period that followed, they did little but elaborate this canopy idea, combining and softening the colours so as to prevent jarring contrasts, and generally [Pg 71]much improving the logical combination of a coloured central portion surrounded by light-admitting canopy framing. Without the use of yellow stain all this would have been difficult, if not impossible, for without the little touches of gold livening the grey stonework these canopies would have been dull and unconvincing.
Nor was this the only novelty in the method of imparting colour to glass. They now began to enrich their palettes by coating one colour with another, thus getting a tint not before obtainable. For example, red on blue gave a rich purple, blue on yellow a fine green, &c. This was effected in a very simple manner. Suppose the glass-blower wanted a purple—he dipped his pipe into liquid blue glass, and started to blow his bubble. When it began to take shape he dipped the small bubble into liquid red glass and then finished his blowing. This last dipping of course coated the outside of the blue bubble with red, and when it was completely blown, cut and opened out, it produced a sheet which was red on one side and blue on the other. Held up to the light, the red and blue combined to produce purple. Nor did the glass-blower confine himself to combinations of two colours, for the writer knows of an instance in France showing six superimposed coats. The French call this “verre doublé” (or lined glass), a very descriptive name. In [Pg 72]passing we may say that although this manner of colouring glass first reached prominence during the Decorated period, it was but an elaboration of the way the ruby or red glass had always been made, i.e., coated on to the colourless glass.
We have said that the earlier canopies did not have pedestals below them. This lack was soon noted, and the need was felt for something to complete them below; the first expedient hit upon for this purpose was shields gay with heraldic tinctures. Not only were these decorative, but we shall learn at Tewkesbury and Gloucester how valuable they have proved to be in enabling those learned in heraldry definitely to date windows whose histories have long since been forgotten.
It must not be overlooked that the architect had much to do with the development from the mosaic to the canopy style. He decided to change from the wide single windows that one sees at Salisbury, and to substitute for them groups of narrower lights separated only by slender stone mullions and all bound together at the top and tapered off by a pyramid of smaller openings called tracery lights. These latter will be particularly enjoyed by the glass-lover while studying this period, for the Decorated glazier was singularly happy in his treatment of these smaller panes—much more so, in fact, than his successor of the Perpendicular era, who was obliged [Pg 73]to conform to the stiff little pill-boxes provided for him by the architect. The use of vines and leaves was of great assistance in this problem of treating small irregular openings; nor were these the only motives—at Wells there is a very happy use of busts filling small trefoils.
Besides the canopy treatment, the English glazier of the Decorated period was very fond of the Tree of Jesse theme, and, as is usually the case with congenial tasks, obtained most satisfactory results. He used it to great effect in his broad windows made up of several narrow lights, separated by slender mullions. The very shape of these windows invited this design, because a separate branch of the vine bearing its little personages could be run up each lancet without disturbing the coherence of the picture. The men of that time used the Tree of Jesse nearly as much as did their fellow craftsmen across the Channel during the sixteenth century. In France the descendants of Jesse almost always appear as blossoms on the vine, but their earlier English prototypes usually stand in small cartouches formed by convolutions of the vine. This brings us to yet another reason why the Decorated glazier liked the Tree of Jesse. We have already stated that he was much given to introducing leaves, tendrils, &c., done in the natural manner, which, of course, made him entirely at home in delineating the great vine [Pg 74]rising from the loins of the Patriarch. What success he achieved with this style of window we shall judge for ourselves at Ludlow, Bristol, and Wells.
A convenient touchstone for deciding whether a window belongs to this or the next period is provided by an examination of the manner in which the artist executed his shading. It was smeared upon Decorated glass, and a close inspection will reveal the streaky lines. During the Perpendicular epoch the shading was stippled on with the end of a brush.
To recapitulate, the distinctive features of the Decorated epoch may be enumerated as follows:
1. Windows of several lancets, with tracery lights above them.
2. Decorative treatment of tracery lights.
3. Yellow stain.
4. Coated glass (several layers of different colours).
5. Deep rich colouring.
7. Use of leaves, vines, &c., copied closely from nature.
8. Tree of Jesse windows.
9. Shading which was smeared on.
Our Decorated tour will lead us far afield through the western part of the beautiful English country. At the end of the Early English tour we found ourselves in the interesting walled city of York. There we shall also begin our study of the succeeding, or Decorated, period. We shall next strike across to Norbury, in Derbyshire, then on to steep-streeted Shrewsbury, and thence down through Ludlow with its church and ancient castle, and stately Hereford beside the Wye to Tewkesbury, and its ancient neighbour Deerhurst. Gloucester will be passed en route, and then west to smoky Bristol, where the Severn meets the Bristol Channel. From Bristol it is only a short trip south to Wells, then down to Exeter, followed by a long one northeasterly to Saxon Dorchester, a few miles from Oxford. This tour will end in that famous university town, where, in like manner to the ending of the last tour in York, we shall find ourselves able to begin the inspection of the next, or Perpendicular, glass, without leaving the city.
An account of the Early English glass at York will be found on p. 57.
The Decorated glass in the cathedral is almost entirely confined to the nave and the chapter-house (with the vestibule leading thereto). Notwithstanding their early date, the nave windows are large and afford more illumination than one would expect at that time. So much wall-space is used for light apertures that of the entire height of ninety-nine feet only thirteen feet of stone intervene between the bottom of the clerestory windows and the top of the main arches. All this portion of the edifice is dominated by the great west window, given by Archbishop Melton in 1338, a splendid sheet (fifty-six feet by twenty-five feet) of highly coloured glass, supported by curvilinear stonework. Its eight lights retain their original glazing almost intact (as does also the head of the door below). It is skilfully fitted to the elaborate pattern of the supporting stone frame. First there is a row of archbishops, then one of saints, and highest of all a line of smaller personages. The [Pg 77] windows in the west wall at the end of each aisle are of the same period, and also display excellent workmanship, especially the Crucifixion in the northern one. It should be remarked that all the aisle embrasures but two, and all those of the clerestory but two, retain their original glazing, and if to this we add the windows in the west wall just described, it is clear that Winston was right in stating that this nave contains the most perfect and extensive remains in England of the early part of the fourteenth century. His studious heraldic analysis of the first window from the east in the north aisle yields him the conclusion that it was made in 1306 or 1307. He remarks that the yellow stain there used to tint the hair of one of the personages is the earliest instance he ever found of the use of that new colour. Next this on the west is a very charming window given by Richard Tunnoc, Lord Mayor of York, who died in 1330: above his effigy appears a small reproduction of this gift window. This is perhaps the finest of its type in England. It was in honour of the Bell-Founders’ Guild, and is appropriately ornamented by numerous bells in the borders as well as other parts of the design. For the rest of the Decorated glass we must go to the chapter-house and the vestibule which leads thereto. It would be difficult to find a spot in which one becomes so thoroughly imbued [Pg 78]with the feeling of Decorated glazing as in this vestibule. Here we have no distracting features from other periods. The tall, slender lancets that light this L-shaped hallway are completely filled with grisaille overrun with archaic figures and crude canopies, here displayed to the greatest advantage. Passing through to the handsome octagonal chapter-house, we are at first disappointed to notice that the window facing us contains modern glass. Although this first glance is unfortunate, one is soon consoled by observing that all the other six have excellent Decorated glazing of the time of Edward II. and III., showing four bands of late medallions in colour drawn across a grisaille background livened with occasional touches of red and blue. The grisaille here leans to grey rather than to the usual greenish hue, and moreover, the quarries are cut into irregular shapes, thus relieving the monotony of the commoner diamond-shaped panes.
Note the grouping together, in each embrasure, of five narrow lights below gracefully elaborated tracery openings. Later on, in the Perpendicular period, these traceries lose their individuality, become stiffly regular, and part of the window below
Even if the vast Minster were not one of the world’s greatest treasure-houses of glass, the many smaller churches of York would provide ample grounds for its being included in this book of tours. So numerous are these churches that, in several instances, there are found to be more than one dedicated to the same saint, and therefore the pilgrim will do well to note carefully the name of street or gate placed after that of the saint’s to[Pg 79] indicate which one is intended. The most interesting of these modest shrines is All Saints’ (or, as it is sometimes called, All Hallows’), in North Street. It alone is well worth a visit to York. Not only is its Decorated glass in excellent repair and in satisfactory quantity, but it evidences such careful attention to the little touches which make a window successful that one concludes the best artists must have been employed in its manufacture. For example, the canopies in the eastern embrasure of the north aisle have pedestals beneath them, a most unusual feature at that early date. Furthermore, the scenes from the life of the Virgin are depicted in a very careful manner, not only appearing in the three lancets below, but in the three major lights of the traceries above, although not there surrounded by canopies as below. Older than this window, but also typically Decorated, is that at the east end of the south aisle. The brassy tint is more noticeable in the canopies which run in two bands across its three lancets, and the canopies themselves are cruder in drawing than those just described, but are excellently illustrative of their period. These two windows are assisted in their service of beauty by the fact that the embrasures about them are not burdened with modern mistakes, but were glazed during the Perpendicular period. Reference will be made to this later glass further on (see p. 188); [Pg 80]although much more famous than its earlier neighbours, it is not a whit more satisfactory. These two sets contrive to set each other off in admirable fashion, and together they effect a delightful illumination for this interesting church.
St. Dennis (Walmgate) has already been mentioned for its two Early English panels (p. 63), but its chief interest lies in the really fine Decorated remains. On entering you will not long be detained by the fragments of Perpendicular canopies that are gathered into parts of the central eastern window and two other embrasures, but will pass on to the north aisle. The three most easterly windows in the north wall taken with the eastern one of that aisle provide an excellent exposition of the glazier’s art during the epoch we are now considering. The eastern one has a fairly well preserved Tree of Jesse, filling all of its five lancets, except just along the lower sill. Note the green vine and the use of many green leaves. Turning to the three lights in the north wall we find the usual brassy canopies against a quarry background, surrounded by a coloured border. The traceries, too, show the most approved treatment of leaves, green vines, &c., as well as some small heads. The diminutive kneeling donors on the quarry-panes below are very interesting; note the pendent sleeves, and especially the tiny gift window held up by one of these little people. It is [Pg 81]upon the central lancet of one of these windows that we find the two Early English panels.
St. Martin-cum-Gregory boasts of ten windows of Decorated work, mostly small brassy canopies enclosing coloured figures, all placed upon a background of quarries. The best is that at the east end of the south aisle; across its three lancets is carried a row of canopies larger than then generally drawn—in fact, the space usually occupied by quarries at the upper parts of the lights is here pre-empted by the lofty pinnacles of the canopies; the quarries appear below, as usual, and upon them in the two outer lancets are the small kneeling donors. Under the centre canopy is St. Martin dividing his cloak with a beggar, and above in the flowing tracery lights are kneeling angels. This window is rendered especially brilliant by the generous use of red in the backgrounds. There is also some unimportant Perpendicular glass in this church (see p. 185).
Tucked away within the Peak of Derbyshire there is a “Happy Valley” wherein, embowered in green woods and pleasant pastures, lie Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, well known to and well beloved of all industrious tourists. Sweeping around this valley as a protecting wall are rolling hills, whose bare summits have their sombre treeless austerity clothed by a mantle of purple heather. Not very far to the south of this protecting girdle lies a little group of houses called Norbury, nestled alongside a leaping stream that comes down from above. In the midst of this hamlet stands a small church which knows not the industrious tourist aforesaid, but to which we counsel the enlightened and eclectic pilgrims of our company to repair. The chancel here is a delicious morsel preserved for us out of the fourteenth century, complete, enchanting. In its midst are stationed two splendid marble tombs, one double, and both of the most exquisite workmanship. Upon them are stretched the life-size effigies of the deceased, while along the sides are sculptured in [Pg 83]high relief angels supporting shields. Around the walls runs mellow wood panelling, set off by carved oak stalls of great beauty. To complete the picture the many windows which light the chancel contain some of the finest Decorated pattern glass in England. Nor does the quantity of it yield in any respect to the high quality. There are four three-lanceted windows on each side, while a larger one of five lights completely fills the eastern end. In those few parts of the surface which have lost their original glazing, no attempt at modern restoration has been made, but the space has been quite simply filled with white glass. Across the pattern of the east window have been drawn two bands of very light-hued figures (lacking the usual canopies) and harmonising agreeably with the decorous tints of the background. Labels appear above the heads. The figures in the upper row are slightly larger than those below. Turning to the side windows, nothing of their type could be more attractive than the graceful grisaille patterns pricked out with points of colour and surrounded by broad borders which, in diminished scale, are carried up, into and around the tracery lights. Very satisfactory use of blue is made, and that, too, in an unusually free manner. The heraldic blazons placed upon the panes add materially to the charm of the glazing, and in very decorative fashion preserve the names [Pg 84]of the donors. Although a special emphasis has been deservedly laid upon this altogether lovely chancel, the pilgrim must not leave the church without a peep into the diminutive chapel that opens off to the south. Here we shall see a cross-legged Crusader lying in effigy upon his place of last repose. The light that falls upon him streams through two small windows, one on the east and the other on the south, both having three lancets. These lancets each contain a saint framed in a Perpendicular canopy, while below, in the center, an armorial shield separates two kneeling groups of donors. The southerly window shows the father with two sons on one side, and the mother similarly attended by her daughters on the other; while on the easterly lancets the father is accompanied by no less than eight sons and the mother by five daughters—a goodly company, and one which would have alarmed the philosopher Malthus. Note the steeple head-dresses of the women, pendent behind. “Tell it not in Gath” that this charming sanctuary lies hidden away in Derbyshire, come away privately with us and enjoy its beauties undisturbed—“Odi profanum vulgus et arceo.”
“High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam
Islanded in Severn stream;
The bridges from the steepled crest
Cross the water east and west.
The flag of morn in conqueror’s state
Enters at the English gate;
The vanquished eve, as night prevails,
Bleeds upon the road to Wales.”
So sang the “Shropshire Lad” (A. E. Housman) concerning that fair city of the Welsh Marches, high-perched Shrewsbury. Most picturesque is the fashion in which the river Severn knots itself about the foot of the high peninsula upon which the town has been built, and to which access is given by the two ancient bridges, named English and Welsh from the direction in which they lead. The Kirkland Bridge is an addition of modern times. Thoroughly mediæval is the impression one receives as he approaches and enters Shrewsbury. In the first place, the passage of a bridge always affords an excellent adjustment of the traveller’s mental attitude; it lends a certain aloofness [Pg 86]to the town on the other side. It seems to say, “We are letting you across the natural barrier established for us by this river; but remember, it is a privilege, and not a right!” Directly we are arrived on the other side, there commences the ascent of the steep streets, and on the way up there is unfolded before us a series of old white and black half-timbered houses, which will serve to complete the mental picture of those distant days when protecting rivers and steep streets were not eschewed on the grounds of inconveniencing the city’s prospective growth. Safety was then vastly more important than commercial convenience. That features hampering to modern commerce were exactly suited to a border stronghold was proved by the way this town withstood shock after shock of warring tribes, or nations, or factions. In his play of Henry IV., Shakespeare tells how the Prince of Wales here made his sudden transformation from dissolute youth to resolute manhood by defeating and slaying Harry Hotspur, thus in one day quelling the mutinous combination of the Scotch, the Welsh under Owen Glendower, and the rebellious English Archbishop Scrope of York. Quaint and ancient to the last degree is the flavour of this old city, which has owned, first and last, thirty-one charters. Those interested in half-timbered dwellings will do well to come here and inspect their number, variety, [Pg 87]and excellent state of preservation. Perhaps the best are around Wye Cop, passed on the way up the steep streets. The remains of the ancient castle and walls add still other picturesque features to this artistically noteworthy town. An inspection of St. Mary’s Church brings home to us the fact that as this was a fortress city, ground could not be spared to provide the usual Close which so pleasantly surrounds most English churches; in fact, this modest sanctuary is so set upon by other buildings that it seems almost to shrink from public gaze. An outpost occupying a strategic position on an embattled frontier required every foot of ground within its walls, and could devote no space to artistic surroundings, even for a church. St. Mary’s is very rich in glass, and that, too, of varied epochs and styles. Fortunately alike for that church and for us, the Rev. W. G. Rowlands (Vicar from 1825 to 1850), was a discriminating collector of stained glass. He secured not only the great St. Bernard window (of which we will speak later), but also much of the other glass that decorates the interior. We will begin our examination by inspecting the large east window, which displays a fourteenth century Tree of Jesse in the usual Decorated manner, of which we shall see prototypes at Ludlow, Bristol, and Wells. Jesse is reclining across the bottom of three of the lancets, the convolutions of the vine [Pg 88]arising from him forming series of oval enclosures in which appear his descendants. Note the skilful use of the leads in providing the black outlines needed to draw the figure of Jesse. In the row of panels below appear small figures of the donors. The fine reds and blues are hurt by the use of too much green—a common fault at that time. We must look to the nave windows (all of three lancets) for the other glazing of that period. The middle embrasure on the northerly side is beautified by the tasteful use of written scrolls, which wind about the figures and the columns of simulated architecture. Scrolls are also used in the next one to the east, but there they are not so important a part of the decoration. On the southerly side of the nave the embrasures nearest to the west and to the east have single figures in canopy. That to the east displays shields below the figures, a decoration which is absent in the western one. The central window on this side dates from the sixteenth century, and is the best of that period here. It contains three subjects in each side lancet, and two in the central one. Such intelligent use has been made of the leads that one concludes that the men who made the designs, and they who constructed the window, were either identical or else worked side by side. The result forms a pleasing contrast to the usual disregard during the Renaissance for the decorative [Pg 89]and useful purposes of the leads. The most interesting and pleasing of all the windows is the large one of three lancets on the north side of the choir showing fourteen scenes from the life of St. Bernard, six in the central lancet, and four in each of the side ones. Four more episodes from the same life are to be seen in the middle one of the south aisle. This glass, originally in the German Abbey of Altenberg, and then for many years in the vaults of St. Severin at Cologne, was finally brought to London, where it was secured for St. Mary’s by the Rev. Mr. Rowlands. The designs are attributed to Albrecht Dürer, but this is a common claim for German glass of that time. The perspective throughout is good, and the colouring very satisfactory. An unusual charm is added to the little figures by the use of Latin labels issuing from their mouths. There are also inscriptions below most of them, but these are frequently mutilated and misplaced. If proof were needed that this glass was not specially constructed for its present location, it is provided by the fact that the scenes do not follow in their proper order. A field-glass can be had on application to the clerk, and the use of it reveals many interesting and amusing details. The second window on the east in the chapel, south of the choir, has in its tracery-lights written music carried by angels. The pilgrim will later observe a great deal of this [Pg 90]in the Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick. Although rare in England, it is rarer still in France. A fine sixteenth-century Crucifixion scene, covering three lancets, decorates the north window just off the north transept. In the modest-sized east window of this transept are twelve small sixteenth-century enamel panels placed on white, a demonstration of yet another style of that later period. The rest of the glazing in St. Mary’s is either modern or so completely repaired with new glass as to have lost all its ancient feeling. An inspection of this church would not be complete without observing the fine wooden ceilings of both the nave and the choir.
Devotees of the Ingoldsby Legends will remember that when the Great Dog in the castle of “Bloudie Jacke of Shrewsberrie” was about to seize upon Mary Anne, she vicariously appeased him with:
“A Shrewsbury cake, of Pallin’s own make,
Which she happened to take
Ere her run she begun,
She’d been used to a luncheon at One.”
Mindful of this dainty’s historic existence, the traveller will doubtless regale himself therewith, that product of the town being as excellent and famous to-day as ever it was of yore.
From Shrewsbury our route lies southward over [Pg 91]that centuries-old battle-ground, the Welsh Marches. We shall find not only much architectural beauty and fine glass, but also many inspiring memories of the border warfare whose bitterness lasted so many centuries.
Perched high in a strong position at a bend in the River Teme rises the noble ruin of what was once the castle of Ludlow, visible from quite a distance, no matter from which direction one approaches it along the winding Shropshire lanes. It still retains enough of its ancient walls and towers to demonstrate what valiant service it must have rendered in keeping the turbulent Welsh back on their own side of the Border. Nor is the note of war the only one that echoes from the early history of this castle, for in its great hall was enacted for the first time Milton’s “Comus.” After a brief visit to the castle let us wend our way to St. Lawrence’s Church in the town, for which an effective and judicious restoration has revived much of its original charm. A diverting legend relates that the arrow at the top of the north transept gable was shot hither by Robin Hood from the Old Field two miles away. Although many of the parishioners devoutly believe this to be true, it strikes the modern traveller that the great outlaw must on that [Pg 93]occasion have drawn a very “long bow”! The ancient appearance of the fine hexagonal porch with the room above it makes a most inviting entrance. We shall find our glass in unusual parts of the church, nor is this the only unique feature of the edifice. The Lady chapel is not at the east, but at the south side of the chancel; in it is an interesting Tree of Jesse in the approved Decorated method, very like the one we have just seen at Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, the restorer has here been too thorough, but, nevertheless, the pattern has been preserved, and also many of the figures, for example, those just above the head and feet of Jesse. He lies recumbent along the bottom of three of the five lancets which compose the window, while above, in compartments formed by the convolutions of the vine, are his descendants. In accordance with the common practice, too much green was used. Although the chancel does not as usual afford the greatest attraction in the way of glazing, we must observe an interesting fifteenth century window in the middle of the southerly wall. Its five lancets each contain three tiers of figures in canopy, the details of which are much elaborated, especially in the pedestals. Notice also the jewelled borders to the robes. The red and blue glass is free from obscuring paint. Although our principal object was the Decorated glass, this [Pg 94]church would repay a visit because of the Perpendicular glazing of the chapel of St. John which lies north of the chancel, from which it is shut off by a beautiful fifteenth century screen. The two most easterly windows in the north wall are much lower in tone than either the very golden Annunciation which adjoins them on the west, or the red, white and blue legend of Edward the Confessor and the Palmers, which is round the corner in the east wall. This latter dates from about 1430 and has two tiers of canopies across its four lancets. There is here illustrated an absurd contradiction into which this originally graceful style was developed;—within one of its elaborately pinnacled shrines we find a ship! and under another a rural scene with trees! most out-of-place substitutes for the customary and appropriate saint. Let us return to the two low-toned windows in the north wall, of which we have just spoken. The writer does not remember ever having seen any similar to them. Each embrasure has three lancets subdivided horizontally at the middle, making six spaces. The two windows thus afford twelve panels, which are used to display the Twelve Apostles. Local tradition says that there is here represented the Council at which the Apostolic Creed was composed. Each holy man sits on a bench behind a rail, but as they are drawn to a modest scale and [Pg 95]occupy each the centre of his panel, they are thereby so far removed one from the other as to destroy utterly any appearance of a Council. There is a great deal of soft-hued architecture throughout, but it is used as background and not as a frame, thus differing radically from typical canopies. A more satisfactory result would have been attained if they had adhered closely to contemporary tradition, for here the figures, low-hued as they are, start out too abruptly from the over-spacious architectural background. The general effect is not that of a series of gracefully framed Apostolic portraits, but of lonely figures seated in empty halls. If for no other reason than that they have provoked this criticism, these windows should be carefully remarked, because they demonstrate how sound was the theory of employing the architectural canopy as a light-admitting frame for the coloured central figure. The east window of the south transept contains fragments of fourteenth and fifteenth century glass from other parts of the church. The wooden ceilings are well worthy of inspection.
A very charming feature of English country life is the pleasure one can derive from boating on the small rivers. Our American watercourses are generally too wide or too turbulent to become such a domestic pet as we all know the river Thames to be. To one who has not seen Boulter’s Lock on a bright Sunday, or who has never witnessed a Henley Regatta, that most brilliant of all athletic spectacles, it would be difficult to explain how thoroughly the Englishman enjoys and how constantly he uses the opportunity which Father Thames affords for a short outing. Nor is the Thames the only stream thus available. Small watercourses of the same sort are to be found all over the country, and afford delightful trips for those who are willing to travel in so leisurely a fashion. The writer remembers with the keenest pleasure certain canoe trips, one of three days from Bedford to Ely on the Ouse, another on the Stour, from Sudbury to Manningtree, lasting two days, and a third of similar duration from Petworth down the [Pg 97]Rother into the Arun at Pullborough and thence to Arundel. All the preparation necessary is to buy your canoe a third-class ticket, put it into the luggage van at the railway station, and set out for the point at which you wish to begin. Jerome K. Jerome has immortalised a similar trip taken down the Thames from Oxford to London. One of the most charming of all English river journeys is that down the Wye. If one wishes to take a long trip, the start can be made at Hay, thirty-four miles above Hereford, or perhaps better at Whitney, twenty-eight miles above. The next stretch is from Hereford to Ross, twenty-seven miles, and, if desired, this can be lengthened by continuing on down to Monmouth, Tintern and Chepstow. The charming bits of scenery that unfold themselves as this little river lazily winds down the Welsh Marches are most varied and delightful. It must, however, be admitted that it is only the middle section of this agreeable trip that properly concerns one engaged in glass-hunting. We should, therefore, content ourselves with the stretch from Hereford to Ross, twenty-seven miles, if, indeed, we have the time to devote to this slow method of travelling. Over by the river end of the peaceful town of Hereford is the lovely green Close which lies about the sturdy reddish brown cathedral. Few churches, even those of great size, give such a square and solid impression [Pg 98]as results here from the combination of the ruddy tones of the building material and the early type of its architecture. The defacing effects of an earlier restoration are being rectified by the erection of a new west front, now almost completed. The massive Norman columns that support the nave within, carry out in their grand simplicity the sturdy promise of the exterior. Every division of the church seems spacious, the ample transepts, wide choir aisles, and large Lady chapel, completing the effect begun by the nave and choir. Indeed, so commodious is the Lady chapel, that it is used as a parish church. The cathedral has a number of interesting possessions, chief among which is the large Mappa Mundi made in 1300, and showing the world as then known. It hangs in the south choir aisle. The world is represented as round like a plate, and in addition to the cities and countries marked thereon, there also appear the fabulous animals which were then a part of orthodox geography. It was about this time that there was written the adventures of that famous traveller, Sir John de Maundeville, whose voyages were only exceeded in extent by his imagination. His reports of fabulous beasts, &c., are in excellent accord with the pictures on this map.
The ancient glass here is somewhat limited, and is all of the Decorated period. On the south side of [Pg 99]the Lady chapel we shall remark two windows, chiefly glazed in greenish grisaille, but each bearing four coloured decorations placed one above the other. In one case these prove to be geometrical designs outlined in colour, while in the other they are small coloured groups, the topmost scene showing Christ, on a red background, pointing upward. Glass even more typically Decorated is to be seen in the eastern wall of the north-east transept, and again in the most easterly embrasure of the south choir ambulatory. These windows each contain four lancets surmounted by tracery lights, and in each lancet is a coloured figure framed in an unusually lofty canopy—in fact the latter is three times as high as the figure it encloses. Note the brassy tone of the early golden stain used in the architecture. Modern grisaille has replaced its ancient prototype, which, in accordance with the conventions, surrounded these early canopies to increase the light-admitting power of the embrasures. This glass was formerly in St. Peter’s Church, but about sixty years ago that church disposed of it for £5 to a purchaser who presented it to the cathedral. Limited though it be in amount, it will repay a careful examination.
As one wanders through the streets of quiet Tewkesbury, the half-timbered houses on every side lend it an Old World flavour that most suitably prepares us for the sturdy Abbey, the dignity of whose recessed west front is all in harmony with the mediæval gravity so characteristic of the place. It is as if that eloquently silent edifice had never been able to shake off the sombre memories of the sanguinary scenes enacted within it May 4, 1471, when, after the defeat of the Lancastrians under the Duke of Somerset by Edward IV. in the “Bloody Meadow” just outside the town, the slaughter of the wearers of the Red Rose was not only carried on through the streets of Tewkesbury, but even into the Abbey itself. An echo of this butchery is heard in Shakespeare’s Richard III., when the ghost of the murdered Prince Edward (son of Henry VI.) appears to King Richard the night before the fatal battle of Bosworth and cries out:
“Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
Think, how thou stabb’st me in the prime of youth
With what reproach must not that splendid row of fourteenth century knights, victors over the French at Crécy, have looked down from the windows of the choir clerestory upon this bloody violation of the rights of sanctuary by those fifteenth century butchers of the House of York. Indeed, these effigies of the earlier warriors were fortunate to have escaped those later desperate struggles. The ravages of war do not seem to have dealt so harshly with stained glass in this country as elsewhere. A learned French contemporary of these tragic events, Philippe de Comines, remarked this fact, and spoke of England as a land where “there are no buildings destroyed or demolished by war, and where the mischief falls on those who make the wars.” Although Tewkesbury’s fame in history rests largely upon its having been the theatre of this wild closing scene of the War of the Roses, it is not because of any fifteenth century happening that we are moved to come here, but by reason of the seven large windows of the preceding, or Decorated, period which fill the choir clerestory. This is one of the few instances where we shall remark the absence of the square eastern end so usual in England. It is here omitted in favour of the rounded apse then prevalent in France. Advantage has been taken of this unusual shape to throw out a series of chapels around the chancel, which add greatly to the beauty of the [Pg 102]Decorated choir, and contrast sharply with the sturdy Norman nave. The seven large embrasures that light the choir clerestory each contain a group of lancets, five in every case, except in the most westerly pair, where there are but four. Although the design is the same throughout (a large figure in colour surrounded by a canopy frame), these frames are differently occupied, those in the westerly pair containing armoured knights, while in all the others are saints. The depth of their colour scheme is due partly to the great quantity of rich greens and reds used, and partly to the opacity of the panes depicting the canopies. The figures generally occupy about one half the window height, the rest being given over to the canopy. Below the feet of the knights are their shields, which serve to provide the artistic balance later obtained from pedestals. The same conventional attitude has been assumed for all these warriors; each stands with his feet well apart, his left hand on the sword by his side, the right hand on the hip, holding up a sceptre. The pinnacles of almost all the canopies are outlined against red backgrounds. Note the little rose windows introduced in the upper part of the canopies. The most easterly window provides a variation in that the enshrined saints are higher up on the panes, thus making room below them for small groups consisting mostly of naked figures, with flesh tints glazed [Pg 103]in brown. The right-hand lancet shows six kneeling figures praying, doubtless the donors. The borders are carried up and around all the tracery lights, which are very Decorated in form and do not yet show any hint of the stiffer Perpendicular treatment to follow. Perhaps here more effectively than anywhere in England shall we feel the warm colour-value of Decorated glass, with as yet no tendency toward the paler tints that are to come with the Perpendicular style. A similar warmth of tone is to be remarked in the east windows of Bristol and Wells Cathedrals, and the writer is moved to conjecture that the same glazier had to do with all these three. This conjecture is not only based on the still undiminished strength of colour throughout them all, but also on the marked similarity in the drawing and tinting of a certain white vine decoration upon a red ground, to be remarked in the upper tracery lights of all three, and also in the traceries of certain transept windows at Gloucester. Whoever this workman was, we feel his results so satisfactory to-day that it would be small wonder if contemporary appreciation caused his employment in these different towns.
A rare example of rounded apse, generally replaced in England by a square ended chancel. Chief charm of these windows is their rich colouring
Possibly some of our travellers are proceeding in so leisurely a fashion that they may decide to sojourn a day or two in Tewkesbury. To them we address the suggestion that they visit the adjoining town of Deerhurst and see its venerable church. It is but a two-mile walk across the fields, or a pleasant trip by boat on the Severn. It may, however, by means of a small détour, be visited on the way to Gloucester. Although it can boast of but little Decorated glass, that little is lodged in an edifice of great interest, because it is the earliest dated one in England. The obviously Saxon architecture, with its “herring-bone” and “long and short” work, the window-tops composed of two slanting stones, or else of arches cut from one piece—these unmistakable signs would have told us that it antedated the Normans, but of such buildings there are many in this country. Here, however, we have an exact date given us, and, furthermore, the earliest known in all the land. A stone found here (now preserved at Oxford) relates that this chapel [Pg 105]was dedicated in 1056, and that Earl Odda caused it to be erected “in honour of the Holy Trinity and for the good of the soul of his brother, Elfric, which at this place quitted the body.” It goes on further to say that “Bishop Ealdred dedicated it on 12th April in the 14th year of Edward King of the English.” Two other early Saxon edifices of even more modest dimensions lie close at hand. The ancient glass is contained in the four small lancets of the west wall on the right as one enters, and is obviously of the Decorated period. The most attractive bit is the small panel showing St. Catherine framed in a canopy, holding her wheel in one hand, and revolving it with the other. The background is red within the canopy, but green outside, a very frequent adjustment at that time. In both the upper and lower parts of these lancets are groups of three and four kneeling donors, about eight inches high, with labels above them. This glass has not always remained in its original embrasures, but, fortunately, did not stray far. Its travels were cut short by a gentleman who purchased it for £5 from an antiquary’s shop in a neighbouring town, and restored it to its early home. More important and more beautiful sanctuaries will be encountered in our travels, but it is well to have halted for even a brief time at this ancient Saxon fane, if only to [Pg 106]ponder upon how tenacious must have been the traits of those early ancestors of ours, to have persisted to these modern days with such vigour as to have made the adjective “Anglo-Saxon” so significant.
Bristol is connected with London by the Old Bath Road. What memories that name arouses of beaux and belles of stage-coach days, gaily chatting to while away the fifteen-hour trip from London to Bath, or furtively glancing out to see if bold Dick Turpin, or some gentleman of his profession, be not lurking in the shadows of the trees, intent on relieving the tired horses by lightening the passengers’ luggage. This stage-coach period is of peculiar interest to visitors from across the seas, because it takes one back to old Colony days, and the War of the Revolution. In England the improved facilities of travel provided by the stage coach had much to do with advancing parliamentary government and doing away with the system of “rotten borough” representation in Parliament. Bustling and hearty days were those of the four Georges, which produced a Prime Minister like William Pitt. In this progressive era of railroad construction and stock manipulation, it is interesting to read how Richard Palmer besought [Pg 108]the Government to establish a regular mail-coach service on the Bath Road, alleging the great profits they could thereby secure, but really hoping in this way to increase the profits of his theatre in Bath. After a long struggle he finally got the ear of William Pitt. The service was established, and his subsidy (which was to be regulated by the amount saved in carrying the mails) proved so large that they cut it down to the lump sum of £50,000! The first coach started on August 8, 1784. Nowadays it causes us to smile when we read of the tremendous effect produced throughout the country by the news that this coach left London at eight o’clock in the morning and arrived at Bristol at eleven the same evening! Such unheard-of speed aroused wide interest, and had much to do with the great success of Bath as a fashionable watering-place. Bowling along this historic road we shall only stop long enough at Bath to see the remains of the baths built by the Romans, and the famous Pump Room, the scene of the triumphs of Beau Nash, and many another. We may also take a peep into the small, but fine, church whose great window surface has earned for it the title of the “Lantern of the West.” It will not detain us long because its glass is all modern, except in the second embrasure from the west in the north aisle, where seven shields surmounted by elaborately plumed helmets are agreeably [Pg 109]disposed across the five lancets. On we go out of Bath and along the narrow valley of the Avon, twelve miles further to smoky Bristol, squatted like a puffing Dutch burgher at the point where the Severn empties into the Bristol Channel. Although the great shipping industry that gave the town its early importance has of late years diminished, it still retains enough to be an active port of trade. To some fanciful folk the pall of smoke that hangs over the town may seem a gloomy retribution for the fact that from the days of the Saxon and the Norman down to the abolition of slavery, Bristol was the greatest port in England for that nefarious traffic. Changing to a brighter subject, this was the harbour from which John Cabot, the Anglicised Venetian, and his son Sebastian (who was born here), sailed upon their voyages of discovery across the little-known Atlantic.
The Mayor’s Chapel contains some very interesting sixteenth century glass, but as it was bought abroad and fetched here, it has not, for us, the interest which we shall feel in the home-made Decorated windows of the cathedral. Bristol Cathedral lacks the pleasing setting of foliage and green lawns which one finds about almost every English church. Indeed, in this respect, it is more like the famous French ones, which nearly all rely upon architectural charm for their effectiveness. [Pg 110]Inside, the chief matters of interest are the great Tree of Jesse which fills the east window, and the two large lights on each side of the chancel. These side windows are glazed in grisaille upon which are figures framed in canopy, two tiers, one above the other. The most westerly embrasure of the southerly pair has in its upper row three canopies which, taken together, show the martyrdom of St. Edmund. He is within the central canopy, while those on each side contain archers drawing their bows to shoot at him. The bent knees, the awkward pose of the heads, &c., show the drawing to be most primitive. The tracery lights are glazed in red, with white winding vines, and are remarkably like the traceries at Tewkesbury. The Berkeleys, who gave this glass, were related to the de Clares of Tewkesbury, so it is more than likely that they employed the same glazier. The great east window is in a very good state owing to its restoration in 1847 and is a graceful work of the Decorated period. The erudite Winston concludes that as it does not bear the arms of Piers Gaveston (murdered in 1312), and does show those of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford (slain in open rebellion against his sovereign in 1322), the date of the window is probably about 1320, which furthermore is borne out by internal evidence. This great window rises above and behind the altar and [Pg 111]has its nine lancets subdivided into three groups of three each by two mullions which, as was usual at that time, curve away from each other when nearing the upper part of the embrasure. Although the subject is a Tree of Jesse, the patriarch himself does not appear. The various branches of the vine rise perpendicularly from the lower sill and are then gracefully intertwined. The treatment of the personages is the same throughout, each being enclosed by a loop of the vine. The 1847 restoration was so well done that except for an occasional harsh note of colour in the robes, it conceals its modern substitutions quite successfully. The lancets each contain two figures, one above the other. It is fair to comment that the encircling vine is rather too light to harmonise well with the figures in the background.
After descending the hill, crowned by the cathedral, we cross over into the other part of the town to see the fine church of St. Mary Redcliffe, where, although there is but little glass, that little is arranged in a unique manner. Each of the three easterly windows of the south transept consists of three lancets. For each window there is provided a border consisting of a series of fifteen small four-pointed openings fitted over it in the shape of an inverted Ｕ. The glazing of these stars reminds one of the ordinary Decorated treatment of tracery [Pg 112]lights. Within a narrow border is a red field upon the centre of which appears a coloured boss from which radiate four leaves. The general effect is a yellowish green. These windows date from about 1360. On the way out let us stop in the north-west corner of the nave and notice in the north wall a window filled with a collection of about eighty-five roundels and heads, all helter-skelter, eked out with fragments from other embrasures. The effect, though motley, is interesting. A window in the westerly wall of this corner also contains débris, but here it is of figures and canopies. This church, called by Queen Elizabeth “the fairest, the goodliest, and the most famous parish church in England,” is chiefly known for having been the literary browsing-ground of that infant prodigy Thomas Chatterton, who announced that it was an old chest in its muniment-room that yielded what he alleged to be transcriptions from certain ancient Rowley manuscripts. So well were these forgeries contrived that it took Horace Walpole, himself the constructor of an imitation Gothic romance (“The Castle of Otranto”), to discover the fraud. Although but seventeen years old when he committed suicide in 1770, Chatterton had already published a number of writings. No good American should depart without a glance at the monument [Pg 113]and armour of Admiral Penn, father of our William Penn.
It will be no small relief to emerge from the smoky pall which hangs over this enterprising city and escape again into the clearer atmosphere of the charming English country.
Off in Somerset, snugly tucked away at the foot of the Mendip Hills, lies one of the most charming cathedrals to be seen anywhere, and, in the opinion of Fergusson, certainly the most beautiful in England. The fact that it has grouped about it more perfect ecclesiastical buildings than any other church of its size, and also that the town which grew up around is very interesting, combine to make Wells a peculiarly delightful place. The distant prospects of it are very attractive, whether you stand upon Moulton Hill and look toward its western façade, or view the eastern end with the group of adjoining buildings from the top of Thor Hill. Even when you have come down into the quiet town and the cathedral is near at hand, the approach to it continues to be most picturesque, first through a battlemented gateway in one corner of the market square, and then across a lovely lawn shaded by fine trees. The ample proportions of the rugged west front are saved from the appearance of excessive breadth because of the perpendicular lines [Pg 115]lent by the buttresses built against it. A most attractive feature of this great façade is the unusual collection of carved figures beneath canopies with which, at the close of the thirteenth century, it was lavishly adorned. There are over six hundred in all, carved of stone from a local quarry, and originally gilded and coloured. Nearly all are of life-size, and represent not only Biblical characters, but also kings and queens of the Saxon, Norman, and Plantagenet dynasties. Within the building the scene is one of exceptional splendour and beauty. Even what elsewhere might prove ugly is here turned to artistic account, as, for example, when the stability of the great central tower demanded a strengthening arch across the nave at that point, it was rendered a decorative feature by placing above it another arch inverted so that the lines should sweep upward as well as downward. An odd and unusual position was selected for the chapter-house—above and to the north of the chancel—and nothing could be more delightful than the way in which the old stone stairway bends gently up to it. East of the chancel is a fine roomy Lady chapel. The entrance to this chapel is provided by the removal of the lower third of the east wall of the chancel, the middle third being stone wall with empty niches, and the upper third a great arched window of seven [Pg 116]lancets containing a Tree of Jesse in the Decorated manner, above which, in the traceries, is shown the Judgment Day. This is known as the “Golden Window,” and Canon Church calls it “one of the most remarkable in England for simplicity and harmony and richness of colouring, for the force of character in the faces, and the stately figures in flowing mantles of green and ruby and gold, like Arab chiefs; figures such as some artists in the last Crusading host under Edward might have seen and designed, and so different from the conventional portraiture of Bible characters.” Although this window is less lofty than the similar one at Bristol, it does not seem so incomplete and cut off, because we have here the recumbent figure of Jesse across the bottom of the five central lancets, a feature lacking at Bristol. Another point of difference is that the convolutions of the vine do not here enclose the seventeen figures of the descendants, but instead they stand under canopies, of which, however, only the topmost ones have pinnacles. The broad borders have the same design throughout, viz., gold crowns alternated with colour, which changes from red to blue in each successive lancet. The backgrounds within the canopies also alternate red and blue, always contrasting with the colour outside. Almost all the small personages are draped in either[Pg 117] green or yellow, and four have undergarments of red. Though their colouring is splendid, the figures are rather too crowded. The two most easterly lights on each side of the chancel are contemporary with the east window—they are each of three lancets and contain single figures, occupying about half the height of the embrasure, and have no pedestals below them. So similar is the treatment here to that at Bristol that it seems safe to assign the same date to both (1320). The tracery lights around the choir ambulatory still retain their Decorated glazing. To the right and left just before we enter the Lady chapel are single windows containing fragments of ancient glass. The Lady chapel itself is finely illuminated by five large windows of five lancets each containing figure and canopy work. One should remark the unique pedestals consisting of golden lions or bears surmounted by the characteristic ball-flower ornament. Very interesting, also, are the tracery lights, which consist of pyramids of small trefoil openings, four at the base, then three, then two, then one. They are reminiscent of the tracery lights of the Lichfield Lady chapel, but here the glazier has been more adroit in the use of his opportunities. Instead of putting a head alone in each opening, he has availed himself of the broader space at the bottom to put in the shoulders as well. [Pg 118]These little busts adjust themselves admirably to the trefoils. Although the glass which once filled the octagonal chapter-house is all gone save that up in the traceries, those remnants are of interest because the disposal of the designs against the red backgrounds is reminiscent of the work at Tewkesbury and Gloucester. The great west window of the nave has seventeenth and eighteenth century glass at the sides, and in the centre a fine sixteenth century French panel showing the beheading of St. John. This bears the date 1507 and a Gascon inscription, and was bought by Bishop Creyghton during the time that he was sharing the exile of Charles II. on the Continent. This provokes the comment that not only is there a small amount of sixteenth century glass in England, but curiously enough much of it proves upon inspection to have been made across the Channel. Before leaving this noble interior one should notice a feature of quaint interest. In the south choir aisle stands the monument to Bishop Bytton (1524), long renowned for his cures of toothache. After his canonisation this tomb was resorted to by pilgrims seeking relief from that malady, and so famous were the cures that we find carved upon the capitals of piers on the west side of the south transept, and again in the north transept, little men whose sufferings from toothache [Pg 119]are reproduced in the most detailed and dramatic manner.
Notice graceful setting, permitting a glimpse through into the Lady Chapel beyond. The large Tree of Jesse rising from the loins of the Patriarch is portrayed in colours of almost barbaric richness
No matter by which road we leave Wells, one should look back more than once to enjoy the charming views of the cathedral and its Close.
In travelling about England one is struck by how greatly the colour of the building-stone varies. One sees greenish grey around Tavistock in West Devon; golden brown in the country just north of Oxford; silver-grey in many parts of Yorkshire, &c. &c. One might continue to enumerate instances, but in the end the most marked of all would surely be the red seen about Exeter. Not only are many of the edifices built of this ruddy stone, but the earth in any ploughed field thereabouts shows the same unusual colouring. The Normans must have been struck by this fact, for they called the hill on which they built their castle “Rougemont.” In view of this marked peculiarity of the Exe Valley, it is noteworthy that the exterior of the rugged cathedral, with its mighty transeptal towers, is blackish grey. Within, it shows the reddish hue which one would expect hereabouts, but outside is similar in tone to Westminster Abbey. If one be so whimsically-minded as to group cathedrals by colour, one must class Exeter with Peterborough as black, while Lincoln will be [Pg 121]golden brown, York and Canterbury soft grey, &c. &c.
Very fine as well as decorative glass is to be seen in this cathedral. It fills the east window, and another near it in the north choir clerestory, as well as a large window in each of the chapels that close the easterly end of the choir aisles. These charming little chapels are each reached by an entrance from the choir ambulatory, and are only separated from the Lady chapel between them by a light screen. The east window of the northerly chapel has five lancets, although the glass was seemingly made for one of six, the number which still exists in that of the southerly chapel. The treatment in both is the same, a handsome and well-balanced combination of quarry-panes relieved by gaily-tinted heraldic shields, and all surrounded by coloured borders. In the northerly chapel there has been introduced into the central lancet a Decorated panel, showing a kneeling chantry priest within a canopy praying for the donor. This appears to have been removed hither from the chapter-house, where there still remain a couple of similar panels. The two windows just described are excellent examples of one of the glazing methods of the epoch, while of still another style (the figure in canopy), equally good ones are above in the choir clerestory, the fourth from the [Pg 122]east on the north side showing in each of its four lancets a figure under a canopy with a shield of arms at the feet. It is practically complete, except that the shields have lost their heraldic bearings.
Perpendicular stone frame glazed chiefly with very typically decorated figure-and-canopy glass preserved from the earlier and smaller window. Below and beyond appears the Lady chapel
The archives tell of a large purchase of glass in Rouen in 1301 and again in 1317 for use in this cathedral. Much of these purchases is still to be seen in the large east window. Here we are struck by a strange anomaly of obviously Decorated glass in purely Perpendicular masonry. Nothing could be more distinctive of the later period than the Perpendicular mullions surmounted by stiffly upright tracery lights, and yet the glazing could not be mistaken for anything but Decorated. Evidently old wine has been put into new bottles. Although a great deal of restoration is noticeable in this window, the strongly brassy tone of the canopies in the three outer lancets on each side clearly indicate that they antedate the discovery of yellow stain. An explanation of this anachronistic clash between the glazing and its framing stonework appears upon the rolls of the Chapter. April 21, 1389, one Henry de Blakeborn, then Canon, moved by the fine appearance of the newly constructed west window, offered 100 marks towards properly enlarging the eastern one. This offer was accepted and the work at once put in hand. The glazing of the earlier east window was saved to put into the new and[Pg 123] larger embrasure. As yellow stain was not known at the time of glazing the first east window, it is absent from the early glass, although it is plentifully used in the heads, &c., of the additions made necessary in 1389 by the increased size of the window. One must not quarrel with the judicious restoration which has preserved so charming an ensemble. But this indulgent mood will be abruptly dismissed when one examines the lights along the north side walls of the choir aisles, for here the colour in the patterns upon the white panes proves to be Decorated glass cut up into bits for this purpose by some modern glazier! Any further comment upon his taste is unnecessary. It is one of the instances which causes one to query if it be always wise to impose a punishment for murder!
Before setting out upon our journeys we stated that although the viewing of stained glass was our main purpose, we intended to be broad-minded and enjoy whatever other interesting sights might be encountered. When we approach the little hamlet that “Dorchester ys ycluped, that bysyde Oxenford ys” those of our company learned in archæology will doubtless point out the Dykes, those two great parallel earthworks twenty feet high, separated by a dry fosse twenty yards wide, which run for a distance of 900 yards round the south side of the town, from the banks of the Thames to those of the little Thame. Our archæological friend will not need to point out how strong a defence was provided for the ancient Briton by these walls and the two rivers, but he will doubtless earnestly set forth many arguments for and against the theory that this fortification was an outpost of the entrenched camp on Sinodun Hill near by. The writer well remembers how strongly these Dykes impressed him when he first saw them years ago. In company with two friends he was rowing down from Oxford to London, [Pg 125]and having arrived at Dorchester after sunset, stopped there to spend the night. Early in the morning, on our way down to the boat, we came upon these earthworks overgrown with yellow wheat and red poppies sparkling with dew. Instantly one forgot the dull modern village, and went back in fancy to the days when these great lines of earth were thrown up to protect the early owners of this land, later to be so often harried by conqueror after conqueror. The greatest glory of Dorchester came much later, in fact even after the centuries of Roman occupation had come to an end and the last legions had left England for ever. It was under the rule of the West Saxons that Dorchester became the seat of a Bishop whose See was so important that it included all those now known under the names of Winchester, Salisbury, Exeter, Bath, Wells, Lichfield, Hereford and several others. The exact date of the present long stone church is not known, but it is generally believed to be about 1150. The interior will provide but little of interest that one does not often see in many another old English church, but a glance toward the eastern end reveals that some architect of the Decorated period there added a veritable bower of light. One must search far and wide to find so pleasing a combination of excellent glass, disposed in such light and noteworthy stone traceries. The walls which enclose this chancel on the north, east [Pg 126]and south are nearly of equal length, but the architect’s treatment of each is quite different. That to the east seems almost entirely of glass, so greatly has the builder subordinated his stone structure to the glazing. In fact, so much is given over to the glazier as to necessitate the erection of a stout buttress which runs up the centre, and without the assistance of which the slender mullions would be unable to support so great a weight of glass. This buttress stops about three-fourths of the way up the window, the explanation of which is that the original roof was lowered to this point, and it was not until 1846 that it was again elevated to its original height, making necessary the modern glass in this restored portion. Very graceful is the adjustment of the cartouches into which the stone mullions divide the entire surface, and also the way in which they tend to become pointed in the upper part of the embrasure. Within each one we find evidence of the beginnings of the canopy style which was destined soon to emerge from the cramped methods of the glazier here visible. Upon the four lancets of the northern window appear large figures displaying much more freedom of drawing. Our first criticism tends to be that they would be more attractive if they had some background or framing and were not stationed alone upon white panes. The reason for this appears from a close inspection [Pg 127]of the supporting mullions. Along each of these are little carved figures. The writer believes this window to be unique in the respect that the carvings on the stone and the figures on the panes combine to form a Tree of Jesse. Jesse, as usual, is reclining below; the stone mullions are used to represent the branches of the vine, and at their intersections are disposed the descendants, much as we have often seen them depicted on glass. They hold scrolls on which probably their names were once painted. The figures on the glass (some of them still labelled) supplement those in the carvings. Carved figures are also freely introduced at the intersections of the stone mouldings of the east window, but here they represent New Testament episodes, such as the cutting off of Malchus’s ear, the rousing of the sleeping guards, &c. So, too, along the transom that runs across the southern window are carved figures representing a religious procession. Above are coats of arms distributed upon the panes. Below is a handsome Gothic stone seat or sedilia which has for us a great interest in that four little star-shaped lights are let into the back of it, containing late twelfth century medallions. These earliest remains were doubtless preserved from the edifice which preceded the present one. One of them shows a scene in which appears St. Birinus, who converted the great kingdom of Wessex and was the first [Pg 128]Bishop of Dorchester (635-49). This little chancel, with its delightful glass gracefully supported by the quaintly carved stone traceries, will remain in one’s memory as one of the loveliest nooks in England for the glass-lover.
Probably there is no city in all England where the average American tourist feels more at home than at Oxford. All of us have read a great deal about this city of colleges, and most American boys have perused “Tom Brown at Oxford” more than once. Besides, we all feel an interest in colleges and college men. While many realise the charms of this ancient city of learning, some of us know them in great detail; we have wandered in the lovely gardens of Magdalen, of New and of Worcester; we have heard the shouting of the multitudes along the banks of the Isis when one eight has succeeded in bumping another just ahead; we have canoed up the silent tree-shaded windings of the Cherwell—in a word, we are familiars of the place. Apart from its life as a university, as a city of students, its chief association in history may be said to be that it was a refuge and stronghold of the ill-fated Charles I., after his defeat at Edgehill. It was admirably suited for this purpose, because rendered well-nigh impregnable by the encircling streams of the Isis and the Cherwell, [Pg 130]the surrounding morass of flooded fens, and, last of all, its stout city walls. Right loyally did both townspeople and students rally to the support of the unfortunate monarch. The colleges even melted down their plate to eke out his military chest. Of all the towns of England it can, therefore, best lay claim to having been the most loyal to the fortunes of Charles Stuart at a time when loyalty meant most. But it is not for reminders of that dreadful civil strife, terminated by bloody tragedy, that we are coming to the ancient town built on the river near the “ford of the oxen,” no, our researches lie a couple of centuries earlier than those bitter days. First of all we shall enter Merton College to see its windows of the first part of the Decorated period. Then we will repair to New College to view its glass so instructive of the transition from Decorated to Perpendicular. Lastly, All Souls’ Chapel must be inspected for its examples of the Perpendicular style. In many another college can be seen later glazing, but none so good or so important as those just cited. The presence here of such fine examples of the two best periods of English glass makes easy an instructive comparison of their methods and results. Furthermore, it justifies the selection of Oxford as the last stage of our second tour, because we have only to step from one college into another to begin our third tour.
Not only do the most ancient traditions of all Oxford linger about Merton, but it looks the part—it conveys the impression of its extreme age to any one who enters its gates. Mob Quad is the oldest quadrangle in the whole University. Bishop Walter de Merton, Chancellor of Henry III., devised the idea of segregating the students into colleges, so as to govern them better, and to render more difficult, if not impossible, the general lawlessness and bloody frays between nationalities that used to be so frequent. A visit to the chapel will not only show us glass of the early part of the Decorated period, but in such quantity and so well placed as to give one the best possible impression of it. The large east window is filled with modern glazing, only the upper half of the traceries above retaining the original red and blue diaper work. In addition to this great embrasure, the choir is lighted by seven ample three-lanceted windows on each side. These are filled with grisaille bordered in colour, while across them, about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom, is drawn a band of strongly hued canopied figures. Because of their early manufacture we are not surprised to find the canopies very crude, lacking pedestals, &c. The enclosed backgrounds are generally blue, although a few toward the east are red. In the central lancet of each embrasure the canopy usually contains an upright figure, while in [Pg 132]the side lancets they are almost all kneeling. Each personage has a written label which either winds gracefully over his head and down behind his back, or runs along beneath him. The borders are not carried up into the traceries; their design is sometimes a vine, sometimes yellow castles, or fleur-de-lis of white or green. In addition to the band of canopies, the duller grisaille is further enlivened by three coloured bosses in each lancet, mostly containing heads. The western end of the choir opens into the antechapel, which lacks its ancient glazing except for the fragments gathered together into the central western embrasure, whose original tracery glass, however, remains intact. Before leaving Merton mount the stairs to the quaint Ｌ-shaped library and inspect its attractive remains of Renaissance glass. Along the lower side of the east wall of the north wing are seven narrow lancets filled with dainty grisaille quarries, bordered in faint colour and bearing a brightly toned boss. Of more importance to us, however, is the pleasing bay window at the east end of the south wing. Here we find quarries of soft grey, each containing a monogram in yellow stain. In the midst of these quarry panes are placed little scenes, circular in form and decorated with enamel paint in grey and stain, each bearing a German inscription. The central embrasure contains six of these, three [Pg 133]above and three below, and the two side bays have two each, one above the other. They bear the date 1598.
An account of the Perpendicular glass at Oxford will be found at p. 142.
Little proof is needed of how greatly the glazier depended upon the architect, or of how necessary and proper it was that his glazing should harmonise with the prevailing architectural style. The period we are about to study affords a striking example of this subserviency of the window to the building it lights. In no country can there be found a school whose glass was so dominated by its architecture as was that of the Perpendicular in England. This Perpendicular style never crossed the Channel, for the French Gothic of that time, instead of becoming stiff and regular, grew more flamboyant and elaborated. Another marked difference is that all the time the English were softening their tints and striving for a silvery sheet of low tones (Great Malvern, &c.), the fifteenth century French were, on the contrary, using stronger and more varied colours than during the century before. To such excellence of delicate drawing and tints did the English attain in their Perpendicular windows that it may safely be said that in those respects they were never surpassed [Pg 138]elsewhere. This is particularly noticeable at Ross and Cirencester. An opportunity to compare the French with the English glass of that time is afforded by the fact that the French windows of the Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick will be visited between the distinctively English ones of Great Malvern and York. This Warwick glass was brought from France because the contract exacted “Glasse from beyond the Seas,” and we at once notice the strong hues, which differ so markedly from the then prevailing English ones. Nothing could be more convenient than the way in which these particular windows enable us to differentiate between contemporary glass on opposite sides of the Channel.
When the Perpendicular architect arrived upon the scene, he found the canopy window already well developed. The shape of the embrasures which he provided were peculiarly suited to this agreeable method of glazing. The straight upward sweep of his mullions made easy an effective adjustment of the narrow canopy-framed niches, and left the artist little to do but elaborate the more modest sentry-box of the Decorated period. This he did in a very artistic and pleasing manner. The signs of development are easily distinguishable, and chief among them are the elaboration of the architectural detail of the canopy (by increasing the number of pinnacles [Pg 139]and drawing them in relief instead of flat), and the completing of the frame effect by adding elaborate pedestals below the feet of the figures. We must remember that the earlier glazier either placed nothing below the enframed figure or else, in a few instances, heraldic shields (as at Tewkesbury). In many instances the earlier solitary figures within the canopies now give way to groups, although not so frequently as in France. The glazier did well to abstain from this change as much as possible, for although it is logical to find a saint within a shrine, nothing could be more absurd than to install therein a rural scene or a small battle picture. The Perpendicular architect, unlike his Decorated predecessor, was not content to leave the tracery lights differentiated from the rest of the window below. Instead, he tied the upper and lower lights together by carrying his mullions straight up through them all, and thus deprived the tracery ones of the independence as well as the decorative success they formerly enjoyed. In a few instances (as at Great Malvern), the glazier accentuates the stiff regularity of these upper lights by filling each with a canopy-enclosed figure. Lest the upright parallel lines of the mullions lend too monotonous an appearance, care was generally taken to make two of them (usually thicker than the others) swerve outward when nearing the top of the embrasure, one to the right and the other to the left. [Pg 140]These two thicker mullions served the further artistic purpose of breaking the line of tall lights into groups of two or three each. This can be observed in the illustration.
The chief features of this school are as follows:
(a) Increasingly lighter and softer tones;
(b) Stiff parallel lines of upright mullions;
(c) Tracery lights lose their independence;
(d) Greatly elaborated canopies;
(e) Stipple shading, replacing the earlier smear shading.
It can be said with no fear of contradiction that we have now arrived at the finest period of English glazing.
Our Decorated tour was brought to a close by viewing the glass of that period in Merton College at Oxford. Not only shall we be able to begin our new tour in that same city, by inspecting the fully developed Perpendicular windows at All Souls’, but we are also afforded an opportunity, thanks to the transition character of the New College windows (1386), to learn the intermediate steps through which the change of style was effected. On leaving Oxford,[Pg 141] we will betake ourselves to the famously glazed church at Fairford, and thence journey, viâ Cirencester, to Gloucester. The next point will be Great Malvern and its neighbour Little Malvern, and then over the bold uplift of the Malvern Hills to Ross. A northerly détour will take us first to Warwick and then to Coventry, which will probably conclude this tour, for although York appears as the last of this series, it is so placed for the sake of regularity, and only for those who may not have taken the first or second tours. York was visited on both of those, and occasion was given to inspect the Perpendicular glass which there abounds.
In addition to the places just mentioned there are three so situated as to make it inconvenient to include them in this tour—Salisbury, Winchester, and St. Neot (Cornwall). Salisbury has already been visited on our Early English tour. Winchester lies well to the south near Southampton, while St. Neot is off in the west, a few miles beyond Plymouth. These two towns should, however, be on no account omitted, even though each require a separate trip.
An account of the Decorated glass at Oxford will be found at p. 129.
Having visited Merton, and, by examining its Decorated glass, concluded our second tour, we must address ourselves to the third one, devoted to the Perpendicular period. Nothing could be easier. We have only to walk as far as New College to see how the forces of transition performed their work, and then to All Souls’ Chapel to study the fully fledged product of the Perpendicular glazier.
New College is picturesquely alluring to all who visit Oxford, thanks to the agreeable manner in which the college buildings are set off by attractive gardens enclosed within remnants of the ancient city walls. This corner of the old ramparts owes its preservation to a covenant for its upkeep between the Founder and the city. We glass-lovers will remark that in similar fashion a very advantageous placing enhances the beauty of the glass which we are about to see. It is contained in the antechapel, which adjoins the chapel proper on the west and opens into it. A dim passage-way leads to the [Pg 143]small portal by which one enters, admirably preparing our eyes to appreciate the beauty of the glazing. There is also some later work in the main chapel, but it is fortunately shut off from our observation by a conveniently placed screen, thus enabling us to enjoy the antechapel and its glazing without any distraction. The original glass that once filled the large window in the middle of the antechapel’s west wall is now stored in boxes at that other foundation of William of Wykeham, Winchester College, Winchester, having been removed to make room for an ambitious effort by Sir Joshua Reynolds. All the other embrasures retain the original glazing, given about 1386 by the Founder, whose name frequently appears thereon. Let us not be drawn into the violent discussion which has so long raged on the subject of the rival merits of the earlier and later glazing. All glaziers condemn the work of the great Sir Joshua, and even most art critics agree with Horace Walpole that the painting of this large subject is “washy.” He has confined himself to the use of browns, greys, and some pink in depicting the Virtues and the other figures assembled in his composition; but, as was to be expected from one who was only a painter, and not also a glazier, he used so much paint as to interfere perceptibly with the translucence of the glass. Nevertheless, the writer, although he vastly prefers the earlier windows, [Pg 144]frankly states that he began by liking the west one best. The advantage which stained glass windows have over paintings on canvas is that while the latter have only colour the former have both colour and light. For this reason one should be disposed to admit a great deal on behalf of this picture painted by a great artist on a medium which adds light to his colour. There is no good reason why we should quarrel with a man who begins by preferring Sir Joshua’s window, because it may lead him to become interested in stained glass. Almost every one unlearned in our subject admires this west window;—if he will but come with us we will promise sooner or later to open his eyes to far greater beauties, which he will grow to love in the seeing! For those who have learned to enjoy the Wykeham windows more than their showier neighbour, it is suggested that there are two points from which to view them so as to eliminate the contrasting presence of the later one—either stand close to the small entrance door, or else near the chapel screen so that one of the columns comes between you and the west window. Thus one sees only the Wykeham glazing, and that, too, in a frame of mind receptive of the Latin legends which unceasingly beseech us to pray for him. This glass is not only beautiful, but very important, because it clearly illustrates the transition from the Decorated to the Perpendicular. The sixty-four[Pg 145] personages ensconced in their canopies, while possessing traits of both schools, demonstrate clearly how naturally one led into the other. The figures are not yet well drawn, are rudely posed, and are still strongly coloured. Although there is a general flatness in the composition, indicative of the earlier school, tapestries are already hung across the backs of the little niches, and handsome ones too, with crowned initials powdered over them. So, too, pedestals appear below the canopies, although, of course, not yet so complete or elaborate as those to be seen presently in All Souls’ Chapel. The canopies themselves are more robust and not so finished as will be later encountered. An examination of the method of shading also bears witness to a transition, for there is observable both smear and stipple work. The learned Winston makes a very interesting argument to the effect that the panels have been considerably changed about since their original placing, based on the seemingly disordered arrangement of the six varieties of canopies, the unusual order of displaying the Apostles, &c. For us who are less enlightened, however, the chief interest of this delightful series is in the general harmony of the colour scheme, the judgment shown in adjusting the figures to the canopies, and both to the embrasures, and the graceful use of the written scrolls.
Transition window presented by William of Wykeham, Founder of the College. Stone frames are already Perpendicular: note the “pepper-box” tracery lights. The glazing, as usual, lags behind the architecture, and, because of its strong colour and flat drawing, is more Decorated than Perpendicular
The dining-hall possesses some interesting coats of arms glazed into seven of its large lights. Half of these are contemporaneous with the Founder, among them appearing his arms and those of his See; the other half are of the time of Henry VIII.
From “the High” we enter All Souls’ College, undaunted by the scathing comment of Humphrey Prideaux in 1674, that “All Souls’ is a scandalous place and full of fast gentlemen.” Without stopping to remark the beauty of the full-domed Radcliffe Library, rising beyond the graceful stone screen that walls in the westerly side of All Souls’ inner quadrangle, we press on to the chapel at the further end. We shall not spend much time over the windows of the chapel proper, for they contain nothing of interest, but for this there is ample compensation in the splendid display all about the antechapel that opens off to the west. It is true that some of the panels have been restored, but this has been done so judiciously and patterned so closely after the originals that it is not only no detriment, but, on the contrary, enables us to enjoy a completed whole. As was to be expected, figures within canopies meet our eyes on all sides. Owing to the date of their manufacture, the depicted architecture of the shrines is very elaborately worked out. Pedestals are provided, and in the westerly embrasures we find small supplemental and supporting canopies on each side [Pg 147]of the principal ones, which latter, however, alone contain figures. These western lights show more restoration than the others. There is a great deal of red and blue everywhere, not only in the backgrounds, but even in the pedestals below. The four large windows (each containing a double row of three lancets) in the easterly wall are, perhaps, more interesting than their more elaborate neighbours. Especially note, in the one just north of the choir entrance, the charming group of Salome and two children in the lowest panel on the left. Most pleasing of all is the scene of St. Mary, with two children in her arms and two more at her feet, in the right-hand lowest panel of the most northerly of these east windows. The glass here is so conveniently placed as to afford every facility for studying details, thus preparing us admirably for the highly interesting tour upon which we are about to set out.
Lying in the midst of a pleasing but tame countryside the little village of Fairford has nothing to recommend it to the seeker after the unusual but the windows of its parish church. This glass is not only historically famous, but also very complete and beautiful. On the outer side of the little church door we are still in the midst of the commonplace, nothing rises above the level of the unimportant; once inside that modest portal, what a change do we not experience! Around us on every side and above in the clerestory opens out a complete series of windows—harmonious, excellent, delightful! And to add unneeded supplement to the charm that meets the eye, our ears are regaled with the strange tale of how these lovely panels found themselves here, and why they so perfectly fit the church. This latter query is answered most simply—the church was built to provide embrasures for these treasures. The records state that Richard Tame caused the building to be erected and finished in 1493 expressly for this glass, which had been captured at sea from a Dutch vessel. From the [Pg 149]same source we also learn that his son, who died in 1534, completed the building—a rather anomalous statement for, if it was finished in 1493, it would not seem to have needed a further completion by the son. It is to the windows themselves one must turn for some explanation of this seeming contradiction. Although but little comment has hitherto been made upon the subject, the writer was struck by the lack of any similarity between the figure-and-canopy windows in the western half of the church (including the clerestory), and those around the eastern half. The former show a conscientious following of Perpendicular conventions and a careful attention to the proper use of colours, but the latter enjoy an easy victory in style, combination of hues and general artistic appreciation of the possibilities of glass. The sexton relates the usual legend about Albrecht Dürer having designed this latter series, but it is probably no truer here than elsewhere in England, for it is the customary tale one hears about German glass. There is no doubt, however, that in composition and style it differs noticeably from anything made north of the Channel. While the figure-and-canopy work is clearly of the fifteenth century, it must be admitted that if the windows in the eastern part of the church be likewise of that period, then they certainly represent an early manifestation of a style that did not generally prevail until the [Pg 150]sixteenth century. May not this very difference help to explain the second “completion” of the church? Suppose we credit Richard Tame with having secured the canopy windows for the edifice he completed in 1493, and leave to his son the honour of having added the series showing later attributes when he finally finished the structure in 1534. The first windows may have been captured in the way reported in the legend, and the later ones secured in some other manner from the Continent, for it is known that most of the sixteenth century glass in England was procured from foreign sources. Let us leave this moot point to be conclusively decided by others, and turn to observing and enjoying the glass. The shape of the church is unusual and requires a brief word of description in order to understand the placing of the windows. The westerly half consists of the regulation nave with a broad aisle on each side. Above the nave runs a glazed clerestory, which, of course, does not extend over the aisles. There are no transepts. At the middle of the church just where the nave ends there rises the tower, of the same width as the nave. The clerestory stops on the nave side of this tower; there is no clerestory above the eastern half of the church. This easterly half is the same width as that to the west, but it is all open and not separated into aisles like the other part. In the southerly wall of the [Pg 151]building are six windows and a door, and in the northerly, seven windows. The clerestory has four lights of three lancets on each side. Canopies containing figures standing upon pedestals and with gracefully written scrolls about them are to be found in all the clerestory windows, and also below in the four most westerly aisle windows on each side. The figures on the north of the clerestory represent Roman emperors, and above in the traceries are little devils on a red ground. Opposite them on the south appear Martyrs and Prophets of the Faith, appropriately attended in the traceries above by angels on a blue ground. All the windows thus far described are clearly fifteenth century; the workmanship is good but not of such marked excellence as is shown in the eastern part of the church. These latter evidence remarkably skilful designing, and, furthermore, demonstrate that the artist understood the medium in which he had to work out his cartoons. They lean strongly towards the Renaissance type: the colours used are very good, especially some of the greens. Most of the subjects on the north are taken from the life of the Virgin, while opposite, across the choir, appear scenes from the life of Christ, such as the Last Supper, the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, &c. The sexton delights to tell the visitor that the towers in the background of the last-named scene [Pg 152]are faithful counterfeits of the towers of Nuremburg, thus proving conclusively (except to hypercritical cavillers) that Albrecht Dürer designed them. The story is picturesque, but it is fortunate that the good man never saw Nuremburg, or his conscience might force the suppression of this agreeable fiction. It must be admitted, however, that some of this glass is sufficiently excellent to have been designed by that great master. The five-lanceted window that fills the end of the little eastern extension behind the altar has five scenes across its lower half, while above them, occupying the entire width of the embrasure, is a fine Crucifixion. The original background has been replaced by white glass, which enables us to appreciate all the more readily how well the picture is composed. The flowing garments and certain other details are very German in character, while some of the implements displayed are purely Teutonic—e.g., the swinging mace, showing the spiked ball hanging from the handle by a chain. The perspective displayed in all these scenes is noticeably good. We must pass to the other end of the church in order to see its most entertaining window, at least to all those not deeply interested in the intricacies of technique. It fills the western end of the nave just above the portal, and is one of the rare sort known as “doom windows.” There is here set forth a most edifying demonstration in glowing [Pg 153]colours of what will some day happen to those who are not wise enough to be good! Even Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs” cannot provide the exhilarating horrors that the numerous ingeniously minded devils here afford. Most delightful is the enthusiasm and earnestness with which they are carrying on their presumably daily toil of keeping Hades up to its unpleasant reputation.
If the account of this town is not to be read aloud, everything will pass off peacefully, but if sound is going to be given to written words, then our trouble will begin at once, for the methods of pronouncing its name have led to unlimited discussion. All the disputants may be divided into two camps, in one the educated and refined citizens of the town, who pronounce the word as it is spelt, and are aided and abetted therein by all non-residents, while in the other camp we shall find an agreeable company, headed by the late William Shakespeare, and consisting of all the humbler townspeople and the country folk residing near by. This latter group prefer the sound, which, reduced to spelling, approximates “Cisseter.” Notwithstanding this centuries-long dispute, the town has declined in importance since the days of the Romans! Then it was the cross-roads of three great highways, and when one reflects that the Roman road was even more potential in its developing effect upon territory than the modern railway, it is easy to see the advantages that Cirencester enjoyed [Pg 155]over towns not so favoured. While considering this practical feature there must not be forgotten the romantic glamour lent by the legend that King Arthur was crowned here. The parish church is particularly delightful, not only because of its characteristically Perpendicular Gothic exterior, but also because of the logical way in which that same style has been carried out within, especially in the charming fan tracery of the vaults. The stained glass must be studied in detail in order to yield a full appreciation of its beauty, for we must not expect to find here the splendid ensemble often seen elsewhere. There are few places in the land where Perpendicular glass shows so clearly the delicacy of both design and colour which the art achieved in England during that epoch. This fact is borne home with marked emphasis because we are viewing it immediately after an examination of the much better designed but less delicately painted windows of Fairford. As a result of this careful treatment of tint and drawing there is derived an unexpectedly satisfactory result from the collection of figures in canopies assembled in the five tall lancets of the east window. Seen from the nave this collection is quite cool and silvery, and does not betray its composite nature. Where the ancient heads have been lost or destroyed, their space has been frankly filled with white glass. Toward the bottom are eight small [Pg 156]panels containing kneeling donors. The large west window is also a composite one, but here honesty proves to have been the worst possible policy, because the original background having been lost, they filled in between the canopies with splotches of hideous modern blue! Of course this kills any chance for the softly toned effect which we have often observed as the chief charm of the perfected canopy style. In this instance it is peculiarly unfortunate, because the canopies are carefully worked out in detail, showing as many little spires above them as we shall find later at Great Malvern. The figures which they enclose repay study. The centre three in the lower row are almost enveloped by broad written scrolls, which lend a most decorative effect. In the pedestals below the figures are little open galleries containing diminutive kneeling donors, very modestly and appropriately displayed. The colours here are noteworthy, especially the rich deep red in the robe of the cardinal at the top of the second lancet from the north; in the second to the south notice the combination of the mulberry gown, blue cape, and golden halo. The use of the leads to delineate folds in the cloth is as good as the colouring. It is evident that no mean artist produced these satisfactory results, but it is fortunate for him that he cannot see the atrocious blue that now strives to off-set his delightful work. In the chapel to the [Pg 157]right of the chancel, the most easterly embrasure on the north has its three lancets filled with agreeably arranged figures and fragments. Being on a level with the eye of the observer, this glazing can be examined closely. Note the careful adjustment of the leads to suit the drawing of the hands in the right-hand lower corner. It is so evident that this glazier thoroughly understood his art that we are not surprised at the richness of the reds and the blues, or the mellow strength of his yellow stain. It is easy to deduce from the Cirencester windows the lesson that design is not so important as colour, and that, while excellent effects can be produced by a collection of well-toned fragments, the best design done in bad colouring is sure to be unsatisfactory.
In our wanderings to see glass we have observed how many and varied were the reasons for the presentation of those splendid offerings to religious edifices, and also that these reasons are often storied upon the windows themselves. Wide as is the range of such causes it is reserved for Gloucester Cathedral to show us an ancient window erected to commemorate the winning of a great battle. Thanks to the painstaking studies of Charles Winston (1863), backed by his exhaustive knowledge of heraldry, it is now known that the great expanse of coloured glass at the eastern end of the Gloucester chancel is a thank-offering for the epoch-making victory at Crécy of the little army of English over the French hosts. How incongruous it seems that such a feat of arms should be commemorated in this mild manner! The mind wanders off from this glorious wall of colour back to a certain cloudy afternoon in August 1346. Edward III. and his young son the Black Prince, with a force of only eight thousand Englishmen, had swept triumphantly through Normandy up to the very gates of Paris. [Pg 159]There the presence of a huge army of French and mercenaries forced them to turn northward toward the Flemish border. Fatigued by their dashing campaign, they were overtaken and brought to bay by the French at Crécy, about fifteen miles east of Abbeville. In the very front of the French hosts was stationed a body of 15,000 Genoese crossbowmen who, by their discharge of arrows, were to disconcert the English, and disorder their ranks preparatory to the onslaught of the French knights. Suddenly a great storm breaks upon the embattled armies, terrifying the Genoese unaccustomed to the thunder, lightning and driving rainbursts of a northern tempest. Nor is this all, for when the storm passes and the sun darts out from behind the clouds, the Genoese, ordered to discharge their crossbows, find to their dismay that the bowstrings are rain-soaked and cannot be drawn. Just at this juncture the English archers, taking their bows from water-tight cases, loose such a pestilential shower of arrows upon the already harassed Genoese that they break and flee, throwing into the wildest confusion the ranks of the Frenchmen behind them. Effective as were the bows of the English archers, the long knives of the Welshmen prove equally so, stabbing the horses of the French and thus placing the riders hors de combat. Together these two bands of yeomen reverse the verdict of centuries of warfare;—they [Pg 160]show the armoured knight to be an anachronism, and thus in one day feudalism begins to totter to its fall. The moment has come for the charge of the English chivalry. On they dash, led by the sixteen-year-old Black Prince. They fall upon the already panic-stricken French and what has been a battle becomes a rout. The king witnessed the conflict from a windmill on a ridge, being desirous that his son alone might have the glory of the victory. It is doubtful if the annals of chivalry record a finer scene than the meeting of the king and the Black Prince after the battle. In the blaze of the great camp-fires, and before the whole army, the father embraced his son, and would have given him alone the praise, but the Prince “bowed to the ground and gave all the honour to the king his father.” Ten years later we find him of the same generous nature, for, in the evening after the great victory at Poitiers, he caused the captured King John of France and his son to be seated, and standing behind, served them himself, modestly refusing to join in their repast. Long since hushed is the din of that ancient strife, unless perhaps an harmonious echo thereof comes to us from the great east window. Along its lower panes are displayed the shields of the Black Prince and the Earls of Warwick and Oxford, who were with him in the 1st Division on that glorious day, and of the Earls of Arundel [Pg 161]and Northampton who led the 2nd Division (the 3rd being in command of King Edward III. himself). In this brave array we also find the shields of Thomas Lord de Berkeley, his brother Sir Maurice de Berkeley, Richard Lord Talbot, and Thomas Lord Bradeston, who all served in this expedition. Here, also, are the arms of the Earls of Lancaster and Pembroke, who, although at that time fighting in the south at Aiguillon in Guienne, were included as companions-in-arms of the same war. In this beautiful manner the glory and gallant memory of these knights are preserved within this stately cathedral, far removed from the din and carnage, the hissing flight of arrows, the clang of the forward dash of knights, the clash of steel on steel, the battle-cries, and the mingled roar of retreating hosts hotly pursued by exultant victors. Here they dwell for ever in the midst of a great peace: around the grey walls and sturdy tower are the quiet walks, the green swards, the leafy foliage of a peaceful England—an England preserved inviolate from foreign invasion by the splendid deeds of these gallant warriors, and many another like them. So modestly are their blazons set out along the lower part of the great window that the story of their gift and its giving was forgotten, and lay hidden for centuries until rediscovered by Mr. Winston. Much as our windows have hitherto revealed to us of [Pg 162]quaint episode and romantic story, never have we happened upon so portentous a memory, nor one which so richly deserved this magnificent tribute. Its huge expanse of 72 by 38 feet is only rivalled by that of the east window of York (78 by 33 feet). Well did Winston say, “I know of no window so likely as this to improve by a long contemplation the taste of modern glass-painters and their patrons.”
Great east window commemorative of knights who fought at Crécy. Backgrounds of pink and soft blue. Tracery lights no longer differentiated from window below, as during decorated period. Note elaborate masking of earlier walls by later Perpendicular work
A great deal of really fine glass is so badly placed as to appeal only to the student, and not to the sightseer, but at Gloucester this masterpiece exhibits itself to the greatest advantage. One should not speak of this vast window as being in the eastern wall, for it is so large that it takes the place of that wall. In fact it is somewhat wider than the interior of the church at that point, which for this reason has had its side walls slightly slanted out to receive the window. How great is this disparity in size may be estimated if one sights along the inside of either side wall, for you will miss entirely the outermost tier of glass panels. The superficial area of the glass is also increased by a slight bowing outward of the window structure. Behind and to the east of this end of the cathedral was later built a Lady chapel which, however, opens through into the older church. Of course the shadow of this later structure could not help but fall upon the east window, and to that extent obscure it, but what might have proved a serious defect was[Pg 163] avoided by stationing the chapel somewhat to the east of the older building, and also by not beginning the coloured canopied figures upon the east window until above the line of shadow cast by the Lady chapel. The panes below that line are glazed in white bordered by colour, here and there relieved by the coats of arms already mentioned. Viewed from the crossing this great window is more than delightful. Row upon row of canopy-framed personages on red or blue backgrounds, are stationed one above another in splendid profusion. Many of the books class it with the Decorated period, although always explaining that its looks belie that early dating. Our errand is to see how windows look, and therefore, because its stone framework is so obviously Perpendicular, as is also the delicacy of the tones of its glass (particularly in the canopies), it would be unwise for us to consider it otherwise than as an early manifestation of the later style. It is very Perpendicular in its lines and its colouring, and absolutely unlike the deep rich windows at Tewkesbury, Bristol and Wells, which are so typically Decorated. We must remember that the glazier had to conform to the styles of the architect, and because it was the latter who inaugurated the changes he was, perforce, always in advance of the glazier, which helps to explain why some of the details of the glass design are more archaic than the stone framework.
Looking eastward from the crossing, we can see through below this great window and above the altar into the ample Lady chapel beyond. Passing on into that chapel, we at once observe its most prominent feature, the east window, constructed during the latter part of the fifteenth century, a clearly marked example of the Perpendicular. The colouring is here much richer than we are accustomed to find in English work of this time, in fact it reminds one of contemporary French windows. The figures within the canopies are more varied, and occur in groups, thus differing widely from the almost monotonous similarity of the softer toned solitary figures upon the choir window. In the north aisle of the nave the third, fifth and fifteenth embrasures from the west provide us with marked examples of the Perpendicular. Double sets of pinnacles, two-storeyed pedestals, jewels separately leaded into the borders of robes, &c., show a distinct advance upon the earlier and simpler methods of the great wall of glazing in the choir. One should remark the Decorated work on the easterly side of both transepts. The clerestory lights are glazed in quarries with coloured borders, while above them the tracery embrasures are not only like those at Tewkesbury, but are also glazed in the same fashion, white lines wound about on a red ground; we have remarked the same treatment at Bristol and Wells. Even a brief [Pg 165]glance about this great sanctuary reveals that huge sums must have been spent not only in veiling the older walls with the later Decorated work, but also in the elaboration which is everywhere noticeable. Nor is it difficult to understand how sufficient funds for this purpose were collected when one considers the vast store of gold, silver, and jewels brought here as offerings by pilgrims to the tomb of the murdered King Edward II. We must not depart without having a walk about the charming cloisters, which are by many considered the most beautiful in England.
Great Malvern lies on the easterly slope of the famous Malvern Hills, which run nearly north and south, and form the western barrier of the Severn Valley. Its site provides a pleasant and far-reaching prospect of smiling country, dotted here and there with the towers of Worcester, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and many another town and hamlet. So lofty are these hills that the views from their summits are hardly to be equalled elsewhere in England; indeed, it is reckoned that on a fine day one can look into a dozen counties. The three chief heights have long been known as Worcester Beacon, Hereford Beacon, and Gloucester Beacon, each named after the county in which it stands. Peaceful as is this delightful scene, certain of the memories which it awakens are those of warlike strife, for one can see from this vantage-point six of the great battlefields of England—Edgehill, Worcester, Evesham, Tewkesbury, Shrewsbury, and Mortimer’s Cross. Nor are these the only reminders of warlike deeds, for about the top of two of those great eminences run encircling [Pg 167]lines of strong earthworks, known to have existed since the time of the early Britons, if, indeed, they do not antedate them—eloquently silent proof of how long men have realised that this fair land is worth fighting for. Wonderful and inspiring is the view that unfolds itself before the eye of the traveller when he has reached the topmost point of the road and pauses before descending to Great Malvern. No wonder that William Langland selects this site for the slumber which yielded him that marvellous dream which he describes in his “Vision of Piers Plowman” (1362). He says:
“On a May mornege · on Malverne hulles,
I was wery forwandred · and went me to reste
Under a brode banke · bi a bornes side,
And as I lay and lened · and loked in ye wateres
I slombred in a slepyng.”
Tradition tells us that he learned the profession of clerk in Great Malvern Priory, and there composed his splendid poem. His attempt to correct the abuses of his times accords more readily with the work of one contemporary, John Wyclif (who about 1380 gave the people the Bible in English), than it does with the merry “Canterbury Tales,” written in 1387 by that Court favourite Chaucer. We have already encountered that jovial soul during our visit to the early glass of Canterbury. It is significant [Pg 168]that in a work which produced such a marked effect upon its time as “Piers Plowman,” frequent testimony is given to show the esteem in which stained glass was then held. Whenever church decoration is mentioned by any of his characters, they almost invariably dwell longer on this feature than upon any other. The Franciscan monk speaks of his church: “With gay glitering glas Glowying as the sunne.” In similar fashion the Dominican brother is made to say: “Wyde wyndowes y-wrought, y-wryten ful thikke, Shynen with shapen sheldes.” A severe rap is given at those who glaze windows in order “Hevene to have,” and vain-glorious souls are urged not “To writen in wyndowes Of youre wel dedes.”
But let us, like Langland, arouse ourselves from the reverie superinduced by this wondrous outlook, and wend our way down the side of the great hill to the Priory Church. Although its more famous windows date from a century later than Langland’s day, it may well be that his eye was gladdened by the older glass in the south aisle of the chancel. It is certainly fine enough to have attracted his notice, and one may safely assume that he loved glass, else his lines would not so frequently refer to it. Before observing the Perpendicular glazing in which this building abounds, let us consider that of the Decorated epoch in the three embrasures that light the [Pg 169]southerly wall of the aisle chapel south of the choir, and which were there in Langland’s time. The most westerly of these three is filled with heads and débris, formerly in other parts of the church. We shall have a treat in the two windows adjoining this to the east. Each contains a dozen small scenes from the Old Testament, the four lancets of each window subdividing these scenes into three rows of four each. The backgrounds are diapered red or blue, and a crude border of architecture surrounds each. The drawing is crisp and the colours are strong and good. Note particularly the red in the “Naming of the Fowls”; also observe Noah sending forth the dove, while various sorts of animals crowd about his feet. The rich tones, the crudeness of the canopy work, and sundry other signs unmistakably mark this glazing as Decorated. The corresponding chapel on the north side of the chancel has lost all its ancient glass, except a little in the tracery lights.
The chief beauty of the interior is the delightful east window, whose stout central mullion, two-thirds of the way up, divides and inclines outward to right and left until it touches the frame. A charmingly soft colour scheme is here used, quite in the best manner of the Perpendicular epoch. It is difficult to puzzle out the original order of the figures and canopies, for the window was greatly damaged during the prevalence of the playful custom, many years ago, [Pg 170]of permitting the village urchins to throw stones at it! Although the design has been injured, nothing could spoil the colour effect. Viewed from a proper distance the whole presents an appearance of tender grey, mellowed by soft blue, with here and there a note of red. The tracery lights escaped practically unscathed, and each contains a complete figure and canopy. This great central embrasure is flanked on both the north and the south by three large clerestory lights, the glazing of the southerly ones being much less complete than that of their neighbours across the chancel, where the figure and canopy work is excellent, and the combination of tints remarkably good. The side columns of the shrines are broader than is customary, while at the top are an unusual number of pinnacles, as many as fifteen being noted in one case. These little spires are shown to advantage against backgrounds of soft blue and pink. At the top of the north-west window is the martyrdom of St. Woerstan, in the background of which appear the Malvern Hills. The next most important glass occupies the large embrasure at the end of the north transept, which, however, is somewhat reduced from its original proportions by having the lower panels in some of the side lancets walled up. The glass here is not so disarranged as in the east window, and we are able to decipher portraits of Henry VII., his queen, and members of his family. [Pg 171]Something out of the ordinary is the large blue corona spread over the central part, serving to tie three of the lancets into one picture. Interesting details occur in the “Adoration of the Magi” (third from the right in lower row). In the west wall at the north-west corner of this transept are single figures in canopy, two rows of three each, one above the other. The great west window is filled with fragments brought from the nave clerestory, and is mostly figures and canopies. Taken as a whole, the glass in this church provides a delightful experience. It is very typical of the lighter tones that came in with the Perpendicular style, but its greatest service is in teaching the lesson that, no matter how much a window’s design may have suffered, it will carry its message of beauty, if only the original colour scheme be sound.
The fine encaustic tiles, not only in the flooring, but also set in the walls, are of local make. Some date from the fourteenth century, and others from the fifteenth, at which latter time Great Malvern enjoyed a wide reputation for their manufacture. Other examples may be seen at Little Malvern and at Tewkesbury.
About three miles from the centre of Great Malvern lies the hamlet of Little Malvern, dominated by its priory, now used as a parish church. Of the original building, built by the Benedictines, little now remains but the chancel and a great perpendicular tower, separated from it by an oakwood screen rich with carved vines. The chief attraction, however, is the east window, which, on the whole, is well preserved. Its story can best be told in the words of that ancient writer Nash: “The windows were curiously painted, rivalling those of Great Mal. In the E. wind. of the choir are 6 large compartments: in the middle one is represented Edward IV. in a robe of ermine with an imperial crown on his head; in the next compartment is his queen with a like diadem; in the pane between them is painted his oldest son, afterwards Edward V., his surcoat azure and his robe gules turned down and lined with ermine; [Pg 173]and in the next panel is his brother Richard, Duke of York, his surcoat also gules, and his robe azure turned down one row to the feet, on his head a Duke’s coronet.”
Twenty-seven miles below Hereford on the Wye (but only fifteen by road), there rises a small but steep bluff overlooking the sinuous windings of the river, and straggling down from its top is built the town of Ross. Pope, in his “Moral Essays,” would give the credit for every one of the town’s agreeable features to a certain John Kyrle, who died in 1724 at the advanced age of ninety. The elaborately thorough Pope credits him with all the civic virtues, and appends an inventory of benefits, which includes the benches disposed along the hill’s brow for those wishing to view the landscape, the causeways, bridges, &c., not omitting minute charities to the villagers. Some members of the legal and medical professions may join the writer in esteeming the poet fortunate in that he did not fall into our clutches after he had penned the following lines:
“Is any sick? the Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the med’cine makes, and gives.
[Pg 175]Is there a variance; enter but his door,
Balk’d are the Courts, and contest is no more.
Despairing Quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile Attorneys, now an useless race.”
This public benefactor lies buried in the northern side of the chancel, and near by there comes through an opening in the wall a large vine, rooted outside but bearing its leaves within the church. The glass here is limited in extent but very delicate and charming. It fills the eastern end of the chancel, which extends a short distance further to the east than do the two ample additions opening out from each side of that central portion of the church. These chancel windows are composed of four lancets each, and the treatment is the same throughout, viz., a single figure within a canopy. The personages are of good size, occupying about half of the entire height of the canopy. Because the windows are near the ground, Ross affords an excellent opportunity to examine the peculiarly delicate drawing on English glass at this time, which far excelled any contemporary French work. The architectural details of the canopies are carefully worked out, and each is surmounted by seven slender pinnacles standing out clearly against their red background. Up the sides and into the cusps of each lancet runs a light border. A very [Pg 176]sober use is made of the tints throughout, yielding a harmonious ensemble of colour, well set off by the soft brownish shades used in the depicted architecture.
Warwick Castle should be visited in order to inspect one of the most perfectly preserved strongholds of the Middle Ages, the many features of interest which it contains and its picturesque situation on the river Avon, rather than for the small amount of domestic stained glass (of the grey and yellow stain type) to be found in the long corridor and large banquet-room. Although worth seeing if one is there, it is not of sufficient importance to cause a special visit. There are also some well-preserved panels showing coats of arms at the Leicester Hospital, but this is a form of glazing frequent in England, and it is no better here than in many other places. There is, however, glass of great value and beauty in the famous Beauchamp Chapel which adjoins, on the south, the chancel of St. Mary’s Church. Much interest is added to this glazing, because the contract for it (dated June 23, 1447) is so full of details and specifications as to throw valuable light on the conditions and requirements of the craft at that time. After one’s eyes have become accustomed to the soft-hued English Perpendicular [Pg 178]glass, then in the height of its favour, it is very difficult to realise that these windows, with their strong colouring, are of the same period as the delicately toned ones which we have seen at Great Malvern and elsewhere. The explanation is provided in the contract. It there appears that the executors of Richard Earl of Warwick were not satisfied with the then prevailing English system of soft tints, and also that they were sufficiently advised of the state of the art on the other side of the Channel to realise that the richer hues which they demanded could be obtained in France, even though it was impossible or difficult in England. We read that they required the glazier, John Prudde of Westminster, to work “with Glasse beyond the Seas, and with no Glasse of England.” Again and again they insist on richness of hue; not only must he glaze “in most fine and curious colours,” but it is specified just what he shall use, for they provide him with a selection “of the finest colours of blew, yellow, red, purpure, sanguine and violet, and all other colours that shall be most necessary.” They require that his designs be made by another artist, and even those must be “in rich colouring.” The contract contains another criticism of earlier English methods, for they say “of white Glasse, green Glasse, black Glasse, he shall put in as little as shall be needful.” He complied with his requirements pretty strictly, and further, he used a glass so hard [Pg 179]and tough that its surface has resisted the disintegration which the weather so frequently caused in English glass of that period. Unfortunately all the ancient panes are not in place. The entire east window is filled with them, although a close scrutiny reveals that several of its panels are brought from side windows. Along the sides of the chapel the original glazing is only to be found in the tracery lights and the upper parts of the embrasures, what little there was left in the lower panes having been used to eke out the east window. The effect of this latter is complete and splendid. The richness of its colours is assisted by the golden rays which are so plentiful in the central part of the picture. The use of the leads is very elaborated and painstaking, many of the folds of the garments being delineated in this laborious manner. Two schemes are used for the backgrounds, one, red with lozenge-shaped squares enclosed by white and gold strapwork, and the other, blue with similarly bordered squares.
Note in the traceries the red angels, poised upon golden wheels. The most striking feature of this tracery glazing is the liberal use throughout of written music, generally supported by angels. In some instances psalms are written on the white sheets, but more often it is staves of notes. Above the most easterly pair of windows on each side are groups of angels playing musical instruments and walking about [Pg 180]on a blue sky dotted over with white stars, much resembling the apples on the trees of children’s storybooks. One should observe what an agreeable use is made of these small angels that people the traceries. The glazier has skilfully avoided the ugly effect which would have been produced had the white sheets of music or psalms been continued in a horizontal line around the chapel, and has so waved this white line up and down that it becomes as decorative as the labels so common in German glazing. This appearance of music on glass is rare in England and rarer still in France. The rich colours demanded by the Earl’s executors must have produced a splendid effect in this chapel when all the embrasures were glazed as sumptuously as is the east window. Enough remains, however, to make the Beauchamp Chapel an important station in any stained glass pilgrimage.
On the other side of the chancel is the vestry, into whose small east window have been collected six diminutive panels formerly in the chancel’s east window. They date from 1370 and contrast markedly with some small enamelled scenes in white and yellow stain (dated 1600) placed in the same embrasure with them. While the contrast is too sharp to be agreeable, we are afforded a comfortable, near-at-hand opportunity to observe the great strides which this craft took during that interval of time.
An English friend of a flippant turn of mind once remarked to the writer that the three most famous rides in English history were undoubtedly the Charge of the Light Brigade, John Gilpin’s famous infringement of speed regulations, and Lady Godiva’s effort on behalf of the citizens of Coventry—and that the last was the most praiseworthy, because it had really accomplished something! Viewed in this light, the episode of Lady Godiva passes from a matter of local interest to the higher plane of national pride;—upon the equity of this promotion it is certain that every citizen of quaint Coventry will agree. If, peradventure, there shall have intruded into our company any who love not glass, let us protest with Falstaff, “I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat.” The distant prospect of that Warwickshire city is beautified by the three famous spires that proudly thrust their red sandstone peaks high above the huddled housetops. The ancient flavour of the place is preserved for us by the numerous old houses, one of which has in its topmost window a wooden [Pg 182]figure, “Peeping Tom,” that wicked exception who proved the rule that the worthy citizens could be relied upon to be loyal and true even under the application of that most searching test, curiosity. One of the three great spires rises from St. Michael’s Church, a building of very great size, about whose spacious interior are disposed many Perpendicular fragments, some arranged in bands along the clerestory, and others filling two windows (each of four lancets) that face each other in the chancel. These panels afford a useful part of the decoration, even in their present kaleidoscopic condition, and their colours put to shame those of the modern windows near them.
Splendid row of ancient English Kings, and below, a great tapestry. In the centre of the window and again on the tapestry appears Henry VI, who was a member of the Guild. Handsome example of mediæval hall
Just across the narrow street is one of the finest examples in England of stained glass used to decorate a municipal building devoted to secular purposes. It is to be found at the north end of St. Mary’s Hall, and is as admirably placed as it is excellently composed. Across that entire end of the spacious hall is a great window occupying the whole upper half of the wall, and broken up into nine wide lancets surmounted by tracery lights of the usual Perpendicular form. Across the entire lower half of the wall is suspended a long tapestry, which we shall see accords with the subjects appearing in the glass above it. Nowhere can there be found a great window and a large tapestry used with such[Pg 183] harmony of purpose and result. History tells us that Henry VI. took so pronounced an interest in the Guild of Coventry that he was regularly inducted into its membership in 1450, and therefore we are not surprised that his effigy occupies the middle lancet of the window. Inspection reveals that he is the central figure of a gallery of kings, for he is flanked on the left by Henry III., Richard Cœur de Lion, William the Conqueror, and King Arthur; and on the right by Edward III., Henry IV., Henry V., and the Emperor Constantine (who was born in Britain). All these royalties are in full armour, except their crowned heads, and they all stand firmly poised with their feet well apart. The backgrounds are unusually interesting, and consist of upright strips of red and blue separated by narrow lines of yellow, the strips being sprinkled over with the letter M, because St. Mary is the patron saint of the hall. These figures all stand beneath canopies, and in the traceries above is still other canopy work, serving as background for gaily tinctured coats of arms. One, displaying a black eagle upon a yellow field, is said to be the blazon of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, Lady Godiva’s husband, “that grim Earl who ruled in Coventry.” This hall was finished in 1414, and the glazier is said to have been the same Thornton to whom we are indebted for the east window at York Minster. Henry VI. appears [Pg 184]again in the tapestry below, this time attended by his wife, Queen Margaret of Anjou, who shared his interest in Coventry. Nor were these the only royalties to feel a kindly interest in this city, for we also read that Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York were enrolled as members of the Guild in 1499. Upon this tapestry there is gathered a numerous company of individuals attending upon Henry VI. and his wife, who are kneeling in their midst, while between them is a female figure labelled “Justitia.” Local tradition says this label is a later substitute for a religious name, but whether that be true or not, a tapestry made for a Guild Hall in which justice was administered might well have originally had “Justitia” as its central figure. The harmony between the splendid window and the adjoining tapestry finds an answering note in the ancient wooden ceiling with its quaintly carved bosses, and also in the fine wooden gallery at the south end, against which are arranged many suits of armour. Our visit will not be complete without a peep into the spacious kitchen below, and also into a small muniment-room above, which is proved by a carefully preserved letter, bearing Queen Elizabeth’s signature, to have once served as a prison for Mary Queen of Scots.
The huge choir of the cathedral abounds in splendid specimens of the glazier’s art during the Perpendicular period. Here is collected all that the minster possesses of that epoch except a few fragments in the east and west aisles of the great south transept. So attractive is the manner in which the illumination of the choir is effected, as to inspire many poetic descriptions of its windows. One author says that they “remind one of particles of sunlight on running water”; another speaks of “the glittering screens of colour and soaring shafts of stone.” With this latter author we are disposed to take issue upon his use of the word “glittering” in describing glass of this period, for that description more properly belongs to the earlier brightly hued mosaic medallions. In fact, so soft and delicate are the colour and design upon Perpendicular glass that one is apt to neglect the picture which it bears. Indeed, one might say that the service [Pg 186]performed at that time by the picture was but to lend coherence to the window, or, perhaps better, to prevent the colours from being unmeaningly kaleidoscopic when viewed from near at hand. Winston says that the earliest windows in the choir date from the close of the fourteenth century, and are the third from the east in the south aisle, the third and fourth from the east in the north clerestory, and the fourth from the east in the south clerestory. Note the early Tree of Jesse of this period in the third embrasure from the west in the south choir aisle. The other windows of these aisles east of the small easterly transepts, as well as the lancets on the east side of the great westerly transepts, are from the time of Henry IV., while all the others date from Henry V. and VI., chiefly from the latter. These small easterly transepts rejoice in the possession of two large windows, one at the north and the other at the south end, the former dedicated to St. William and the latter to St. Cuthbert. In the latter, which is seventy-three feet by sixteen feet, appear members of the House of Lancaster. Beginning at the eastern end of the north aisle, we shall find that the first window possesses a few fragments, but that the next three are among the finest here, their combination of greys, browns and blues being noticeably good. The next three are paler in tone and not satisfactory. The Crucifixion [Pg 187]at the end of this aisle in the east wall is excellent. Its companion at the east end of the south aisle is also fine in both colour and design. Observe the drawing of the heads in the second window from the east in this aisle. The last one of all is French of about the end of the sixteenth century, and was brought here from Rouen by Lord Carlisle in 1804. Fine as it undeniably is, its rich Renaissance hues do not harmonise with the lower tints of its earlier English neighbours. The examination of these minor possessions of this part of the edifice now leads us up to its crowning glory, the great east window. The nine lofty lights are subdivided into three groups of three each by two mullions thicker than the others. All these mullions are swerved above and then disposed in accordance with the best Perpendicular traditions. Like the large windows of the east transepts there is here a double plane of stonework reaching half-way up the face of the embrasure. At the point where this double stonework stops there is carried across its top a gallery right against the face of the glass. So vast is this great surface (seventy-eight feet by thirty-two feet) that the gallery would escape notice if it were not pointed out. The two hundred panels of figures which here appear depict in the upper half Old Testament scenes from the creation of the world to the death of Absalom; below are scenes from the Book of [Pg 188]Revelations, and lowest of all a series of kings and archbishops. The contract for the glazing is dated 1405 and calls for the completion of the work in three years. Even if the rest of its great wealth of windows be disregarded, York Cathedral, by virtue of this vast screen of colour and of the exquisite group of the “Five Sisters,” would rank as one of the most notable points of interest in the world for the lover of stained glass.
Tremendous sheet of colour, 78 by 32 feet. Lower half of stone frame built in a double plane, and carries a gallery across face of the glass
Several churches of this city also contain Perpendicular windows of great interest. We have already visited most of these to inspect their Decorated remains (see p. 78), and, for the sake of regularity, will now take them up in the same order when viewing their Perpendicular glazing. All Saints’ in North Street, tucked snugly away among its surrounding buildings and only accessible by means of a narrow alley, is the most interesting of all the smaller churches. It is, fortunately, in the possession of a rector (Rev. P. J. Shaw) so keenly alive to its store of beauties that he has preserved them in a handsome volume, and thus made their enjoyment possible for those who live far away. Fine as are the Decorated windows already described, the Perpendicular ones are finer still. They fill almost all the embrasures not occupied by the earlier glass. Most of them are in the usual figure-and-canopy style, although here groups generally replace the[Pg 189] figures, and the details of the architecture are worked out in a painstaking way. A very fine one is the east window with its three lancets containing respectively St. Christopher carrying Christ, St. Ann instructing the youthful Mary, and John the Baptist, while below and in the side compartments are the donors, and in the central one a composition representing the Trinity. Still more interesting is the embrasure containing the “Six Corporal Acts of Mercy” with its engaging little groups, of which, perhaps, the quaintest is the upper central one, “Giving Drink to the Thirsty.” But the most interesting of all, indeed a famous window, is the eastmost in the north aisle. It is of the kind called “Bede” window from its showing a bede or prayer for the donors. The fifteen small scenes under their squatty canopies are a most interesting representation of the last fifteen days of the world as recounted in the “Prick of Conscience” by Richard Rolle, a learned and pious writer who died 1349. The story begins at the lower left-hand corner and goes to the right. Notice the careful realism of the timid worthies in the scene whose label describes it as “ye XI day sal men come owt Of their holes and wende abowt.”
In St. Dennis (Walmgate) the chief remnants of Perpendicular glass are gathered in the central east window, but they are not to be compared [Pg 190]for excellence with their earlier neighbours. So, too, in St. Martin-cum-Gregory the Perpendicular remains cannot vie with the Decorated specimens. There is, however, a fine picture of St. George killing the dragon in the central lancet of the westmost embrasure in the south aisle.
Holy Trinity (Goodram Gate) has a large east window dating from about 1470, whose five roomy lancets contain single figures in the upper canopies and groups within the lower ones. Especially note the central lowest panel, for there appear three men intended to represent the Trinity. This is said to be the only instance in English glass where the Trinity is thus symbolised. On either side of this large window are smaller two-lanceted ones containing figures in canopy. All this glass is supposed to date from the reign of Henry VI., as does also that at St. Martin’s (Coney Street). St. Martin’s is not only valuable as affording an example of the general arrangement of designs throughout an interior, but it specially rejoices in a great west window that is a real delight. Its five lights set forth the life of St. Martin, and from the records we learn that it was erected with funds received from a bequest dated 1447. Three splendid tiers of canopies rise one above the other across the five lights, while below, where the shadow of an adjoining building might have robbed figures of their [Pg 191]brilliancy or interest, the space is filled with elaborate quarry work. Along the clerestory are four-lanceted lights with large saintly figures upon white quarries and blazons above them, each lancet bordered in colour. Kneeling donors reveal whose piety contributed to these windows. St. Michael’s (Spurrier’s Gate) has quite an amount of Perpendicular glass which is in good condition owing to having been recently releaded. The windows along the south aisle beginning at the east are each four-lanceted; in the first appear the nine choirs of angels, and in the next two the genealogy of Christ. In the south-west window are Biblical scenes, while in the north-west one there has been collected heads, armorial bearings and conventional designs. Fragments have also been gathered into the south-east window, including heads of three kings and a bishop.
At p. 30 will be found an account of the Early English glass at Salisbury.
As one reads history, the kings and nobles are apt to stand out in such sharp relief against the background of less illustrious folk that one often neglects to inquire into the nature of that background, if, indeed, it be not entirely ignored. Nevertheless, the foreign campaigns of the English kings could never have been carried on without the “sinews of war,” which brings us abruptly to the unromantic necessity of considering that very large portion of the community who stayed at home and paid the taxes and did other unattractive but necessary background work. Chief among these useful people were the great merchants of England, and of these none were more important than those who dealt in wool. Men of their significance in the financial world naturally lived in fine houses, so we are not surprised to find such edifices as Crosby Hall in London or the hall of John Halle at Salisbury. We read that this Halle and one other “merchant of the staple” bought all the wool that [Pg 193]came from Salisbury Plain, which fact helps to explain how he came to be four times chosen Mayor of Salisbury, and also sent to represent the Burgesses when the king had occasion to summon Parliament in London. His handsome hall is lighted by numerous windows, retaining to this day most of their original glazing. Upon them appear sundry heraldic blazons, and also the merchant’s mark of John Halle, which is repeated again on the stone transom of the great fireplace. If we are to venture a date for the building, we may select the year 1471, and for the following reasons: the records show that John Halle bought the land in 1467; the window above the fireplace displays that honest worthy in brave attire with motley hose supporting a banner whereon appear the arms of Edward IV., but surcharged with the plain label of three points, indicating that they belong to his son the Prince of Wales (murdered in the Tower); on the other window appear the arms of Warwick, the “kingmaker.” Now a glance into history reveals that the Prince was born November 4, 1470, during the time that his mother was obtaining sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, his father having fled the country. Further, we know that his father returned and defeated Warwick at the battle of Barnet, April 12, 1471, which defeat cost the great Earl his life. It is fair to conjecture that the [Pg 194]Warwick arms would not have been put upon these windows after his death, nor those of the Prince of Wales before young Edward was born, so there remains to us only the period between his birth and Warwick’s death (viz., November 4, 1470 to April 12, 1471) as the probable time of the hall’s erection. The embrasures were glazed in uniform manner (except the one over the fireplace already described), and they repay close examination. Within coloured borders are quarry lights across which are drawn bands slanting downward from left to right which bear the word “Drede” often repeated. Up and down the lancets are placed gaily tinted shields of arms. These slanting bands, marked with motto or single words, were not uncommon at that time; interesting examples are to be seen at Ockwell’s Manor (Berks), Gatton Chapel (Surrey), and Benedict’s Chapel (Peterborough), &c. It has been suggested that the word “Drede” used here is a rebus composed of the initials of the words “dominus rex Edwardus domina Elizabeth,” referring to Edward IV. and his Queen. The handsome pointed roof assists the windows and the fireplace in completing a most pleasing interior, giving one a high opinion of the style in which once lived John Halle, the great wool merchant of Salisbury.
The oldest known road in all England is the “Pilgrim’s Way” which used to run along the southern coast from the neighbourhood of Salisbury to Canterbury. In very early times it started from Stonehenge, but when that place yielded in importance to the newer settlement of Sarum, and it in turn to Salisbury, the section from Stonehenge to Alton was abandoned because of the new demands of traffic from Salisbury to Alton. Many parts of it are still easily traceable and are worth study by those interested in historic national highways. Maurice Hewlett, in that charming book in the mediæval manner, “New Canterbury Tales,” has his pilgrims proceed not from London, as did Chaucer’s people, but along this very road from Salisbury to Winchester and thence to Canterbury. Nothing is known of Stonehenge, the earliest starting-point of this road—it lies hidden behind the veil on the hither side of which history begins. Likewise, very ancient are the traditions which we shall find at Winchester. As we wend our way along this time-worn highway toward the latter [Pg 196]town, we are (in the words of Le Gallienne) “now entering on a region where the names of Saxon kings are still on the lips of peasants, where the battlefields have been green for a thousand years, and the Norman Conquest is spoken of as elsewhere we speak of the French Revolution—a comparatively recent convulsion of politics.” To us, pondering upon these ancient thoughts, there comes forth to meet us from Royal Winchester a strange array of
“Visions, like Alcestis,
Brought from underlands of memory.”
We seem to see Alfred the Great and his tutor St. Swithin; King Canute, whose imperious sway stopped only at controlling the tide; William of Wykeham, the great builder of cathedrals, churches and colleges; Jane Austen, friend of us all; the gentle Isaac Walton, and many another. Shades and visions of shades! Nay, even the lovely New Forest through which we are travelling seems peopled with ghosts from homes destroyed to provide space for it by the ruthless Norman conqueror William—ghosts that old legends say winged the arrow that here slew his son William Rufus. And is not Winchester itself the ghost of the kingly capitals it has been—the Saxon capital of Alfred, who here wrote the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; the Danish capital of Canute, whose sway extended [Pg 197]far out over Scandinavia; the Norman capital of William ruling both sides of the Channel? In harmony with this weird ghostliness is a strange story that has to do with the building of the cathedral. William’s Bishop, Walkelin, received a grant from his royal master of all the wood that he could cut from the forest of Hannepings during the space of four days. When William rode forth to see how much had been removed for the purposes of the new building, he at first thought magic had been invoked, for lo! the entire forest was gone! The only magic used proved to be the great energy shown by the Bishop in collecting such a horde of workmen as to perform this tremendous feat in so short a time.
Stately and impressive as is the long grey cathedral, and pregnant as are its memories, there are others in Winchester equally potent to conjure up the distant past, for in the County Hall we shall see suspended against the wall the Table Round of King Arthur and his knights. Tennyson, in his description of King Arthur’s Hall, shows himself a stout advocate of how glorious a part stained glass can play in a scheme of decoration. He says:
“And, brother, had you known our hall within,
Broader and higher than any in all the lands!
Where twelve great windows blazon Arthur’s wars
And all the light that falls upon the board
[Pg 198]Streams thro’ the twelve great battles of our King.
Nay, one there is, and at the eastern end,
Wealthy with wandering lines of mount and mere
Where Arthur finds the brand Excalibur.”
The cathedral, although giving the impression of spaciousness, does not receive full credit for its size—as a matter of fact it is the largest in England. According to the delightful English custom, it lies within a charming Close of green lawn and trees, while on one side a narrow passage called the Slype, quaintly inscribed, gives access to the Deanery, Library, &c., close by, which buildings add so much to the picturesque effect of the whole. Within the portal we shall find the remains of many ancient great ones, some in mortuary chests placed high aloft, and others interred in the customary manner beneath slabs of the pavement. Walpole justly says, “How much power and ambition under half a dozen stones!”
The remains of old glass in this church are more interesting than numerous. Cromwell’s ruffians here outdid themselves. Not content with their usual method of smashing the windows as high up as they could thrust their pikes, they broke open the ancient mortuary chests containing the remains of early kings and ecclesiastics, and hurled through the upper window panes the bones of Canute, William Rufus, and many another long dead ruler—a [Pg 199]gruesome destruction indeed! The most important examples of stained glass date from just after the death of William of Wykeham (1404). So interested was this great man in our gentle art that he placed in his will minute instructions covering the glazing of the windows of his beloved cathedral. He ordains that it be commenced in the nave at the first embrasure west of the new work done by him and then proceed “bene et honeste et decenter” easterly along the south aisle and south clerestory, then, provided any money remains unexpended, the north aisle and the north clerestory. There are more remains of his beneficence on the north side than on the south. Four of his canopied figures have been moved to the first embrasure from the east in the choir clerestory. All of this glass is quite similar to that which he installed in the antechapel of New College at Oxford. There are earlier Perpendicular remains in the great west window, in those at the west end of the nave aisles, and in the first of the south aisle. If it were not for the west window with its deliciously mellow effect, Winchester would hardly have been included in this tour, for the remainder of the glass, though of interest, is not important. One should proceed eastward as far as the transept before turning to look at the west window, for thus he will be able to enjoy its effect without having first learned that it [Pg 200]is really only a jumble of old glass put together every which way, another example of colour outlasting design. Strangely enough, its soft grey-greenish tones remind one of the Five Sisters at York, earlier by two centuries. A nearer approach not only reveals the disordered array of fragments but also permits one to remark a few of the original figures and canopies in the upper left-hand corner. The nine lofty lights are subdivided into three groups of three each by means of two of the mullions which are thicker than the others; these two swerve off to the left and right when nearing the top in the usual Perpendicular manner. An unusual feature is the fact that the mullions of the window have been carried down over the face of the stone wall below, thus agreeably tying together the wall of glass and the supporting one of stone. In this window there are two circles of geometric patterns, made up of early Decorated fragments. Glass dating from the end of the reign of Henry VI. is to be seen in the three most westerly embrasures of the clerestory on the north, and the two most easterly on the south. These latter are from six to ten inches too short for the embrasures, thus indicating that they have been transferred from elsewhere.
The excellent effect produced by the Fifteenth Century fragments with which this window is glazed proves that colour is more important than design in glass. Note swerving to right and left of two principal mullions, thus relieving a monotony of upright lines
Our first glance toward the east makes one inclined to quarrel with what seems to be the [Pg 201]excessive height of the gracefully carved reredos, which appears to encroach upon the east window and to leave only so much of it visible as to make it too wide for its height. A closer view exculpates the reredos, for it turns out that the window is placed so unusually high in the wall that none of it is concealed by the great altar. Its seven lights separate into a central group of three and two side ones of two each. The original glazing has been replaced by some given about 1525 by Bishop Fox, which, however, is now much restored; there appear upon it his arms and motto, “Est deo Gracia.” The top central light has some of the earlier Wykeham glass. The manufacture of glass had much improved by the time of Bishop Fox, but the effect of this window cannot be compared with the larger one to the west. From fragments observable in some side windows, and also in the traceries of both the north and south aisles of the choir, it seems that the Fox glass was also used there. It is to be regretted that there is not on view the contents of two boxes in the cloisters of Winchester School, where are stored the Wykeham panels taken from the west embrasures of New College antechapel to make room for Sir Joshua Reynolds’ “Virtues.”
Before leaving Winchester one should take time to see the ancient church of St. Cross. In 1136 [Pg 202]Henry de Blois commanded that every one who demanded a piece of bread and a draught of beer at the gate of this church should receive it, a quaint echo of mediæval hospitality.
The earliest appreciation by the outside world of the great natural wealth of England was evidenced by those perilous voyages out into the unknown sea beyond the Pillars of Hercules, undertaken by the early Phœnicians in order to trade for tin with the inhabitants of what we now call Cornwall. By one of the odd philological quirks of slang, the word “tin” is now endowed with a meaning inclusive of every form of wealth—a strange modern acknowledgment of the earliest form of English value. Many of these ancient mines are still worked, as we shall see for ourselves when we visit St. Neot. This centuries-old continuance of tin-mining is strongly in accord with all things Cornish, for in that westernmost corner of England change does not intrude, and as things have been so they continue to be. We will assume that the pilgrim has reached Plymouth, that western outpost of Devon, seated beside her ample harbour, whose many bays and estuaries running up into the land [Pg 204]seem to symbolise Father Neptune laying his mighty hand upon the smiling country. Ferrying across to the Cornish side, we proceed by pleasant woody roads giving glimpses of Plymouth Harbour, and on to solid stone-built Liskeard. Pushing past along the high road that leads to Bodmin and the Land’s End, we shall be at some pains to notice a little road that, four miles beyond Liskeard, turns off to the right up a narrow valley. A mile of pretty windings past several ancient but still active tin mines, brings us to St. Neot, snugly stowed away among the hills. Here, in this small community, which shows no trace of ever having been any larger, nor any indication of becoming so in the future, stands one of the most interesting glass shrines in England. The church has the appearance of many another of the Perpendicular school—a type so common throughout the land. One notices that it is lighted by an ample number of large windows, each of four lancets. Once inside the door, however, and the change from the usual to the extraordinary is immediate. The roomy interior is practically unbroken by the usual divisions of chancel, nave, &c., and this very appearance of spaciousness assists admirably in showing off the windows to the greatest advantage. The oldest ones are at diagonally opposite ends of the church [Pg 205]from each other, and are found in the north-westerly and south-easterly corners. The many small groups or scenes (each installed in a canopy) into which these are subdivided render their legends all the more attractive, because they depict so many different points in the story’s development. The architecture of their canopy frames shows that they date from rather early in the fifteenth century. In addition to this more common style of glazing there is another type, which has a number of examples here—a saint standing upon a bracket and displayed against a quarry background, but lacking a canopy. These date from a little later in the Perpendicular period. This bracket feature is very English, and may also be seen at Nettlestead and West Wickham in Kent. So pleased were the parishioners with these two types that, when some new windows were presented in 1528-29-30 (now seen along the north wall), the glazier did not work in the then prevailing Renaissance method, but designed his story of St. Neot’s life after the earlier many-scened type, as well as copying some of them after that of the bracketed saints. One of these sixteenth century windows was presented by the young men of the parish, another by the young women, a third by the married women, and the rest by private individuals or families. Below the two [Pg 206]given by the married and the unmarried women are a row of kneeling donors which afford an interesting study of female costume. In the south wall is a window given by the Mutton family. Here the glazier did not copy earlier types, but struck out along a new line, making a very graceful use of winding scrolls. Extremely pleasing as is the effect of all these windows, the result would have been even more gratifying had it not been for a restoration which befell the church in 1820, and which, when it subsided, left behind it not only three unsatisfactory new windows, but also certain misguided retouchings of the old ones. Even this gentle criticism must not be allowed to affect the fact that the ensemble of the interior here is delightful and one of the most complete in England. Nor is this general effect one whit less engaging than the host of quaint details revealed by a close investigation of the glass, especially in the case of the Noah window (most easterly of the south wall), and that devoted to St. Neot (most westerly of the north wall). The mediæval idea of Noah’s Ark is very diverting, as is also the artist’s idea of how most of his wild animals must have looked. Then, too, the attention paid by good St. Neot to the sacred fish which his over-zealous servant had wickedly roasted and [Pg 207]broiled is most entertaining. For beauty, and for interest as well, this noteworthy set of windows in far-off Cornwall amply repay the length of the trip necessary to seek them out.
In England there is not to be found the same awakening and change in art at the opening of the sixteenth century which is encountered in France, and is known to us as the Renaissance. This revival of art reached the English at second hand, having been transmitted to them through the French. The soldiers of Louis XII. and Francis I., who fought in Italy at the close of the fifteenth century, could not help but see and feel the new movement in matters artistic then bursting into bloom, and they carried home with them not only memories of what they had seen, but also many fine examples in their spoils of war. The tales and trophies of these soldiers proved a great force in starting the French Renaissance. One of its first fruits was the change from the then flamboyant Gothic to the classical style in architecture. In glass it was first evidenced by substituting canopies of classic form for the Gothic ones which had been so much in vogue. The pictures they enclosed were gradually widened until it soon became necessary to discard altogether the canopy [Pg 212]frame, which, on the passing of the narrow Gothic embrasures, was seen to have outlived its usefulness. While this awakening in art ultimately reached England, it came slowly and never gained the influence it attained in France. The English ear and eye were not surprised and delighted as were the French by the return of soldiery laden with artistic spoils and enthusiastic over the new beauties which they had seen in Italy. Art in England developed quietly, steadily, as was but natural, lacking, as it did, this sudden impetus from the outside. There is another, and for us, a far more regrettable difference between those two countries during the sixteenth century, in that very little good glass was then made in England, while France was constantly adding to her wealth of windows during all of this, her great period of artistic revival. Just as the golden age of glass seemed to die in France at the end of the sixteenth century, so, in England, it perished at the end of the fifteenth, a whole century earlier. There are, however, some fine examples of the sixteenth century in England even though much of it (as at Lichfield) will prove to have come from abroad. What we shall find at Cambridge is delightful, in fact so fine is it that one must deeply regret that there are so few towns on the roster of this epoch. A modest amount of glass was made in England during the seventeenth [Pg 213]century (as, for example, the work of the Crabeth Brothers and Von Linge in certain Oxford colleges), but as this is only fairly good and was, moreover, made by foreigners, we will not take our pilgrim to see it because its lesser interest might detract from his delightful memories of the glorious Decorated and Perpendicular windows. In English sixteenth century glass it is not easy to trace the transition from the Perpendicular canopies to the large brilliant pictures, which can be so readily studied in France. The English glazier would almost seem to have realised abruptly the beauty of the large picture windows, and to have transferred his allegiance suddenly to this new method. Delightful examples are to be seen at Shrewsbury, but most satisfying of all is the very complete series around the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, that gem of English architecture. Lichfield must also be visited to view its Flemish windows about the Lady chapel, and St. Margaret’s Church (close to Westminster Abbey) for its east window of the same provenance. Concerning English glass of this period it may be said that it possesses all the rich colour treatment of its French contemporaries, and, moreover, that it has the added advantage of a more careful use of the leads in providing outlines for the designs. Almost insignificant as are these sixteenth [Pg 214]century remains when compared with the innumerable ones across the Channel, their great beauty goes far towards compensating us for their lack of numbers.
The seven towns containing noteworthy Renaissance glass fall naturally into two groups, one to the north and the other to the south. Supposing we begin with the one of greater distances, the first stage, after viewing the London windows, will be Cambridge. Thence we go north-westerly to Lichfield, and, lastly, due west to Shrewsbury. If the pilgrim has not already visited Shrewsbury on our Decorated tour, he will find an account of its sixteenth century glazing at p. 85. The second tour is to the south, and not only are all the points near London, but close to each other as well. The first will be Guildford, which lies in Surrey, as does also Gatton Park, the next in order. Twenty miles to the east, over the Kentish border, is Knole, which concludes the tour.
If a stay of any length is made in Cambridge, occasion may be taken to use it as a centre for side-trips [Pg 215]to Margaretting, Levrington and Lowick. So, too, proximity may serve as an excuse for seeing Nettlestead and West Wickham on our way back to London from Knole.
London, that capital of the world, contains no examples of early glass in situ, and it is not until we have arrived at the study of Renaissance windows that she provides something to engage our attention. It must not be overlooked that there is an excellent collection of early glass at the Victoria and Albert Museum which, by the way, is most advantageously displayed, thanks to the manner in which all light is cut off save that coming through the coloured panes: it is unfortunate that the same good taste and judgment is not in evidence at the Louvre and other great museums. Some of the original mosaic medallions from the Sainte Chapelle, Paris, are here preserved. After all, though this South Kensington exhibit is undeniably good, glass appeals to one less in a museum than when seen in its natural home, a church. Two London churches have interesting examples of Renaissance glass, which, however, came from abroad, the east window in St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and three in the east wall of St. George’s, Hanover Square.
Westminster Abbey is generally entered by the [Pg 217]north transept door, and almost every one of its visitors overlooks the modest little parish church of St. Margaret, standing only a few paces off, so completely dwarfed and rendered almost insignificant is it by the imposing proportions of its impressive neighbour. Nevertheless, small as is this interior, it possesses a window which the Abbey would be proud to have, one of such pre-eminent excellence as to draw from Winston the statement that “the harmonious arrangement of the colouring is worthy of attention. It is the most beautiful work in this respect that I am acquainted with.” It completely fills the large eastern embrasure, and one needs but a glance to recognise it as a Renaissance work of an excellent type. The three central lancets show Christ between the thieves, and below, the Holy Women, and soldiers. The drops of blood from His wounded side fall into chalices held by three angels. The repentant thief has his soul carried away by an angel to heaven, while a devil is mocking the other one. On the north side is St. George, and below him a kneeling figure which provides the only authentic portrait of Arthur Prince of Wales. On the left is Katharine of Aragon, the fiancée of Prince Arthur, and later the first wife of Henry VIII. Above her head appears her badge, the pomegranate. As no stranger tale could be related of the vicissitudes to which a glass window could be subjected [Pg 218]than the adventures of this window during the 300 years that elapsed between its making and its installation at St. Margaret’s, the writer is moved to set it out in full in the words of the historian of that church, Mrs. J. E. Sinclair:
“The window was ordered in 1499, and took five years to be executed at Dordrecht (or, as some authorities state, at Gouda) in Holland. It was intended as a gift from King Ferdinand the Catholic and his wife, Queen Isabella, to Henry VII. to commemorate the marriage of their children, and was originally purposed to be erected in the Lady chapel of Westminster Abbey, then in course of construction by Henry VII., and now generally designated by his name. As Prince Arthur died in 1502, before the arrival of the window in England, and as it was the policy of Henry VII. to avoid the repayment of the widow’s dowry by her marriage to his younger son, for obvious reasons, the window was never erected in the Lady chapel of the Abbey of St. Peter. After the vicissitudes of three centuries, it has been eventually put up in St. Margaret’s Church, within a very short distance of its original destination. Henry VIII., after marrying his brother’s widow, naturally disliked the window, and presented it to the Abbey of Waltham, where it remained till the Dissolution of Religious Houses in 1540. Then the Abbot, with a view to its preservation, [Pg 219]transferred it to his private chapel at New Hall in Essex. This property, strange to relate, fell at the Reformation into the hands of Sir Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, father of Queen Katharine’s rival, Anne Boleyn. On the death of Sir Thomas without a male heir, Henry VIII. seized New Hall with the rest of the Boleyn patrimony, in right of his murdered wife, on behalf of her daughter Elizabeth. He then wished to alter the name of New Hall into Beaulieu, but the old nomenclature survived. Queen Elizabeth bestowed the estate on Ratcliffe, Earl of Essex, who sold it to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. His son, in turn, sold it to General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, who caused the window to be taken down and buried in chests, thus preserving it from the iconoclastic zeal of the Puritans during the Civil War. The next owner of New Hall, John Olmius, offered the window, in a letter dated July 30, 1738, preserved in the British Museum, to the authorities of Wadham College, Oxford, for their chapel; he terms it ‘one of the finest large windows of painted glass in England.’ The negotiation apparently fell through, for it was bought from him by Mr. John Conyers of Copt Hall, Essex, for fifty guineas. The son of this gentleman, on February 8, 1759, sold the ‘window with its stone frame, ironwork, and other appurtenances’ to the Churchwardens of St. Margaret’s, [Pg 220]Westminster, for £420. This sum formed part of the Parliamentary Grant of £4500 then voted for the repair of the Parish Church of the House of Commons.” The parishioners of that small sanctuary possess in this much-travelled window as inspiring and beautiful a treasure as any of those which attract so great an attendance to its mighty neighbour Westminster Abbey.
A Renaissance Tree of Jesse from Belgium, readjusted to fit its new embrasures. Figures unusually large for this subject. Fine colours and drawing
Certainly one would not visit the Abbey because of its stained glass, but equally certain is it that no one who happens into its neighbourhood can resist its spell and must enter the portal, if only for a moment of old-world inspiration. Let us yield gracefully, and when we have entered look about us for what little ancient glazing remains after the visit of the Roundhead despoilers. There are fragments in the two small windows of the nave’s west end, but the most important remains are those in the east window above the altar. Here are assembled pieces dating from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, which serve as a background for Edward the Confessor and his patron saint—these figures are of the fifteenth century. Passing on to the east through the maze of kingly remains, a few steps lead us up into the magnificent Henry VII. Chapel, whose noble proportions seem to mock the modesty of its name. The ancient glory of its glass has departed, but those who interest themselves in the [Pg 221]light which heraldry throws upon history should repair to the easternmost chapel and examine the coats of arms set out upon its panes. Here are blazoned all the Tudor badges, picturing the claims upon which that new house based its right to occupy the throne of England. The red rose of Lancaster and the white one of York are there alone and in combination. The portcullis of the Beauforts, the family of Henry VII.’s mother; the Countess of Richmond’s root of daisies; the English lions; the fleur-de-lis of France; the Cadwalader dragon, a reminder of Henry’s descent from the last of the British kings; the greyhound of the Nevilles, from whom Elizabeth of York descended through her grandmother, and also the badge of her father, Edward IV.—a falcon within the open fetterlock; and last, but most significant of all, the green bush with its golden crown, emblematic of Henry’s hasty coronation on Bosworth Field with the diadem of Richard III. picked from off a hawthorn bush. In those strenuous days the proof of a legal title was not infrequently deferred until after the mailed fist had laid hold upon its prey!
St. George’s, Hanover Square, has long been famed far and wide for the great number of weddings there solemnised. It is perhaps not inappropriate that the old glass to be seen here once constituted a Tree of Jesse. The spacious window at the back of the [Pg 222]chancel, and also those which flank it on either side, are filled with it. So large are the figures (the largest the writer has ever seen in this favourite glass design) that two of them suffice to fill each of these side windows, although their embrasures are by no means small. The glass was originally made for a church at Mechlin, Belgium, and though its figures have been necessarily readjusted to suit their new home, there remain so many sections of the vine as well as of the familiar name-labels as to make it obvious that the panels as originally combined made up a Tree of Jesse. The glazing as a whole is rich in tone, unmistakably Renaissance, and, best of all, so agreeably disposed in its present abiding-place as to make it seem as if it had always belonged there.
In the mind of most Americans the names of Oxford and Cambridge are firmly locked together—a sort of Siamese twins of University education. As a matter of fact, they are strangely different—very much more so, indeed, than any two American universities. While Oxford has her charming quadrangles with their delightful gardens, Cambridge not only has them also, but further rejoices in a very special beauty, her “Backs,” those admirable contrivances for preventing overstudy on the part of too zealous students. A “Back” is that portion of a college’s territory through which meanders the narrow Cam, the scenic opportunities of that slender stream being developed to the uttermost with green banks, graceful bridges, and shaded walks. The writer never pursued a course of study at Cambridge, and, therefore, is not competent to judge of the charms of her undergraduate life, but he has spent sundry happy hours canoeing on the gentle Cam, which same hours have yielded him the impression that, fascinating as the undergraduates doubtless find the lecture halls, there is much to be [Pg 224]said in favour of idling along the delightful “Backs.” Hints of the joys of Cambridge college life pervade the clever verses of Calverley, and also those of his lineal successor, the unfortunate J. K. Stephen. Chief among the many victories of the wearers of the “light blue” are those won by the oarsmen, and these victories become doubly praiseworthy when we visit the miserable little stream on which the crews have to train. That a long line of successes have been achieved in the face of such disheartening obstacles adds all the more to the credit and glory of men like the brothers Close, the giant Muttlebury, Dudley Ward, and many another. Most of the colleges follow the quadrangle system like their Oxford cousins, but there is an exception in the case of King’s College. Here a handsome openwork screen of stone shuts off the street, but not the view. Through it we are able to see, standing haughtily apart from the neighbouring buildings, the beautiful chapel of the college, one of the few perfect buildings in existence. Goldwin Smith says, “Cambridge, in the Chapel of King’s College, has a single glory which Oxford cannot match.” It is a long, tall edifice, of the same width throughout, lighted by high windows of even size, and ceiled by graceful groups of fan vaultings of the most exquisite type. The only division of the interior is that effected by a wooden screen which runs across [Pg 225]the middle, but, fortunately, stops before reaching a height which would interfere with an uninterrupted view of the sweep of the fan vaultings above. A full two-thirds of the wall-height is given over to lighting apertures. The records show that the two contracts for glazing the windows were dated 1527 and 1528. They require that the “wyndows be well, suerly, workmanly, substantyally, curyously, and sufficiently glase and sette up.” It is said that Holbein drew the cartoons from which they were made. The excellence and charm of this complete series makes one regret that there are so few examples of their epoch in this country; this strikes with peculiar force one coming from France, so prodigally rich in sixteenth century windows. At King’s College the large picture treatment is seen at its best. Not only is the composition of the groups of figures carefully studied, but so also is the adroit opposing of one colour by another. Particularly daring is the use of large masses of the same tint. So little was the artist willing to be hampered in the development of his colour scheme that he even made his foliage red when he happened to need that hue in a certain part of his design. Although the pictures here display careful drawing and elaborate composition, the excellence of the general result is certainly due to the fact that the artist thought fully as much of colour values as he [Pg 226]did of his designs, something his contemporaries were prone to forget. These windows come as a delightful relief to one accustomed to the ill-considered use of Renaissance architecture that so overloads and encumbers the sixteenth century stained glass pictures on the Continent.
An exquisite sense of balance seems to prevail throughout the interior, and in no feature of the decoration is it so noticeable as in the windows. The large expanse of each is broken into two parts by a horizontal transom, and both the upper and lower divisions are again subdivided, since the central lancet of each contains a figure in Renaissance canopy over a similar figure below in the pedestal. This leaves a space two lancets wide on either side both above and below, and each of these spaces contains a large subject. This method of avoiding the monotony which would have been caused by the singlet-lancet treatment is carried out along both of the long sides. The nine lancets in the large east window permit the introduction of three pictures above, each spreading over three lancets, and the same number below. The three in the upper row set forth the Crucifixion, the central one displaying the usual subject of Christ crucified between the two thieves, while to the left is the preparation of the crosses, and to the right the taking down from the cross. The blues in these pictures are particularly [Pg 227]fine. Above in the traceries are red Lancastrian roses, as well as some Tudor ones of red and white combined. These roses are frequently repeated in the carvings of both stone and wood, as is also the portcullis badge of the Tudors. The beautifully carved wooden panelling about the walls of the choir is rivalled by the rich stone screens that shut off the lateral chapels from the nave.
There is some seventeenth century glass in the chapel of Peterhouse College which should be seen, if only to learn how windows should not be coloured, for the thick application of blues and other tints have rendered the glass here and there almost opaque. There was in England about that time a good deal of thickly coloured, and therefore unsatisfactory, glass. One does not have to see many examples of it before the conclusion becomes inevitable that the English glaziers would better have followed the example of the Frenchmen, who, when their art became moribund at the end of the sixteenth century, let it die and gave it decent burial!
Most visitors find it difficult to escape speedily from the fascinations of Cambridge, and if some of our pilgrims be minded to make a short stay in these erudite surroundings, we will remind them that there are, not far away, three pleasing bits of glass, and [Pg 228]all of them Trees of Jesse—one of the Perpendicular period at Margaretting, about fifty miles south-east in Essex, another one of the same period at Levrington, thirty-three miles north in Cambridgeshire, and a Decorated example of the same subject at Lowick, thirty-six miles west in Cambridgeshire. The Margaretting window is of three lancets and displays twenty-two figures, each with its own label, and together affording a peculiarly interesting study of costume. Don’t fail to notice how deftly the glazier has concealed the fact that the same cartoon is made to serve for several figures by facing them about, or varying the colour in the costumes. The handling of the whitish vine and the use of leaves is very artistic.
The Levrington window has five lancets, and its Tree of Jesse is larger and has more figures than the one at Margaretting; it shows the marks of careful restoration. Including the figures in the tracery lights, there are sixty in all—an unusually large number. Each figure is placed within a loop of the deep orange-coloured vine, these enclosures being about 12 by 8 inches. This great company of personages, and the agreeable harmony of colour, make this window well worth a visit.
Lowick Church does not have to rely alone upon its stained glass, but has many other attractions, such as its fine tombs, elaborately carved [Pg 229]pew-heads, wooden ceiling, and last, but not least pleasing, the venerable prayer-books, dated 1724 and still in their original bindings, ornamented by coloured coats of arms on the covers. There are some heraldic panes along the south side of the chancel, but the chief interest for us is in the very fine series of sixteen personages originally forming a Decorated Tree of Jesse, but now stationed along the upper lights on the north side of the nave. The drawing is good and the colouring strong, with as yet no trace of stain, the frequent touches of yellow being of pot-metal glass. The four most westerly figures are kings, and the eastmost is a knight in full armour, his head, arms and legs being covered with chain-mail. In his hands he holds a model of the church, upon which can be distinctly seen these windows, thus clearly indicating that he was the donor.
There are few cathedrals in the world which, as one approaches, reveal themselves more charmingly than does Lichfield; here one feels an almost studied coquetry, disclosing new beauties at each stage of our advance. When viewed from a distance the three graceful spires, “The Ladies of the Vale,” seem to beckon one on to a nearer view of the sanctuary over which they preside. On entering the town it is temporarily lost from view, only promptly to appear again, this time across the little pools which lie along the south side of the Close and which, aided by the green of the trees, provide so lovely a foreground and setting for the full-length picture of the great edifice. Again we lose it, and then the last revelation of all comes when one rounds the corner into the green Close and there bursts upon you the final and complete aspect of the glorious west front, brilliant in its red sandstone, adorned by its army of over 150 stone figures of prophets, saints, and English kings, a splendid façade, impressively culminated by the towering spires that first signalled to us where we should find [Pg 231]this lovely picture. Unfortunately for the cathedral, Bishop de Langdon, Treasurer of England under Edward I., by surrounding the Close with a wall and a fosse, made of it a stout fortress. Centuries after this very feature resulted most disastrously, for, during the Civil Wars, the military strength of its position caused it to sustain three successive sieges. Of these the first was the most disastrous, for, when the Roundheads broke in after a three days’ assault, they revenged the death of their leader, Lord Brooke, first upon the Royalist defenders, and next upon the cathedral itself, wrecking and destroying ancient tombs, stalls, &c., and, of course, the old glass. In addition to their work of destruction they carried off all that had been left by Henry VIII.’s Commissioners of the rich offerings brought by devout pilgrims to the shrine of St. Chad. To this same Lord Brooke Sir Walter Scott pays his respects in the lines telling how Lord Marmion’s body was brought
“To moated Lichfield’s lofty pile;
And there, beneath the southern aisle,
A tomb, with Gothic sculpture fair,
Did long Lord Marmion’s image bear,
(Now vainly for its sight you look;
’Twas levelled when fanatic Brook
The fair cathedral stormed and took;
But thanks to Heaven and good St. Chad,
A guerdon meet the spoilers had!)”
The interior is of modest dimensions, and is elaborately decorated, the richly carved capitals, &c., giving us indications of how gorgeous it must all have been before it was looted. An interesting feature is the slight inclination of the choir northward from the axis of the nave, which is said to be symbolic of the inclination of Christ’s head on the cross after death. At Troyes and at Quimper in France there is the same deviation in orientation and the same poetic explanation, but investigation reveals that it was caused by a change in the street line in the first instance, and in the other by the annexation of an existing chapel standing slightly north of the true axis.
Excellent example of Renaissance colouring, freer from applied paint than then customary. This glass was brought from Belgium
Practically all of the ancient glass which originally adorned the embrasures has been destroyed; the north window of the north transept has some Early English work much restored, and on the east of the south portal of the south transept is a short lower window, in the central lancet of which is a richly dressed female figure with arms thrown about a cross. Just before entering the Lady chapel we remark two small three-lanceted windows, one on each hand, the one to the left having donors on each side, and in the middle St. Christopher carrying the infant Jesus. But it is to the seven most easterly windows of the Lady chapel that we must repair to [Pg 233]see the famous Flemish glass, brought here in 1803, which is the cause of our visit. The dates which appear upon them run from 1534 to 1539, and they were originally made for the Abbey of Herckenrode, near Liége, Belgium, by Lambert Lombard—the earliest and best of those glaziers of the Low Countries who show the Italian influence. All are of three lancets, except the most westerly pair, which have six. The traceries above them are grouped in pyramids of trefoil openings, similar to some in the Lady chapel at Wells. The scenes are taken from the life of Christ, and there are as well portraits of certain benefactors of the Abbey. The composition as well as the grouping of the figures is not so crowded as in the slightly earlier (1527) glazing of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, or St. Margaret’s, Westminster. The artist drew his personages on such a large scale that it is evident his work was planned for a more spacious interior—this chapel is so narrow that one cannot stand far enough away to get the full effect of the pictures. Although now in the fully developed picture epoch and passed beyond the conventional trammels of the canopy with its imitation stonework, the glazier is not forgetful of what his craft had learned during that period, for he has made agreeable use of architecture, notably as the background for the Last Supper in the east window. Even if the dates were not [Pg 234]displayed in the usual sixteenth century continental fashion, we would have no difficulty in fixing them, not only because of the obviously Renaissance style of the architecture depicted, but also by reason of the general breadth and style of the treatment. Nor is it difficult to note the effect upon the artist of the Italian influence, coming as it did from a land where abundant sunshine makes it desirable that the illumination of the windows be somewhat reduced by the use of paint. Still, it is only fair to say that these particular windows contain much more than was then customary of glass coloured during the making and not painted afterwards. An excellent impression of the colour effect as a whole can be got if we retire to the central aisle of the nave and look east. Now the sides of the choir become a graceful frame for the three easterly windows. The upper part and the centre show an almost solid expanse of blue, while all the rest of the glass yields a golden grey, forming an excellent ensemble.
Before leaving the town, admirers of English literature will do well to visit the house in which Dr. Samuel Johnson was born. It now appropriately serves as a museum wherein are exposed a number of manuscripts, pictures, and familiar objects in some way related to that great scholar. Although the worthy Doctor said that his fellow townsmen [Pg 235]were “more orthodox in their religion, purer in their language, and politer in their manners than any other town in the Kingdom,” one must be pardoned for taking his opinion upon manners with a pinch of salt!
In England one is constantly coming upon manifestations only to be observed in a land whose civilisation and habits of life were long ago settled and have continued stable. One of the most interesting of these is the different methods adopted for perpetuating one’s memory by a benevolent act toward the public—making it worth the public’s while to act as trustee for the preservation of the said memory, so to speak! A very charming instance thereof is afforded by the buildings erected in Guildford by Archbishop Abbott in 1619 as a permanent home for ten elderly men and eight elderly women, all presided over by a Master: according to the fashion of the times it was styled Bishop Abbott’s Hospital. Built on North Street in the quadrangular form so reminiscent of an Oxford or Cambridge college, the rich plum-colour which age has lent to the brick needs only the primly demure assistance of the formal flower beds to make the altogether charming enclosure which we see to-day. Entering this tranquil and ancient quadrangle one seems suddenly whisked by some [Pg 237]magic wand far from the twentieth century world outside. The elderly resident of the establishment who escorts one about the premises descants upon each admirable detail in measured phrase that is pleasantly appropriate to the ancient flavour of the scene. One is shown the old dining-room below and the library above, both of which retain their Elizabethan panelling on the walls and the carved overmantels, together with much of the original furniture. The large table in the library is an interesting piece, the lumpy adornment of its legs reminding one of the puffed sleeves and trunk hose then affected by gentlemen, while the rail running along the floor and connecting the legs prevents us from forgetting that rushes then strewed the floor, and that these rails were used to provide a convenient place to put the feet. The most interesting part of the building is the small square chapel which forms the north-east corner of the quadrangle. It is lighted by two large windows dating from the end of the Renaissance period (1621) and contemporary with the chapel they adorn. They are unusually agreeable examples of the day when colour was applied to glass by enamelled painting. The serious technical defect of that method (the tendency of the enamel to peel off) is here noticeable in several spots, but not to such an extent as to impair seriously their decorative value. Of these [Pg 238]two ample embrasures, the easterly one is the larger, having five lancets surmounted by elaborate tracery lights, while its neighbour in the north wall has but four lancets with traceries of more modest design. All these lancets contain scenes taken from the life of Jacob, the four to the north show Rachel’s subterfuge to obtain for Jacob the parental blessing that should have been Esau’s, while the five easterly ones set forth Jacob’s dream, and the trick played upon him by Laban in substituting Leah for Rebecca, together with Jacob’s retaliation by marking the cattle. Remark Esau shaking his fist at Jacob for stealing his blessing; the solidity of the stairway in Jacob’s dream; the unusual number of animals shown in all the scenes. There should also be observed the very elaborate treatment of the eastern traceries. An examination of the outside of these windows indicates that they were probably brought from some other edifice, for the wall seems to have been cut away to provide sufficient room for them.
Charming and complete glazing of a small chapel. Renaissance glass coloured by the process of enamelling, often unsatisfactory because bits are apt to peel off
It is not uncommon in England to find the chapel attached to the manor house of an estate used as a parish church for the neighbourhood. This is true of the family chapel at Gatton Park, Surrey, just north of Redhill, off the road leading to London. This chapel stands close to the mansion, and is connected with it by a passage. Finer carved wood than the wainscotting of this small interior is far to seek. The wooden pulpit, too, is of skilful workmanship, and together with the panelling, is said to have come from Germany, and to be the work of Albrecht Dürer; its beauty is certainly due to some great craftsman, if not to this very man. The principal illumination of the narrow edifice is derived from two large windows, one over the altar at the east end and the other of similar size in the south wall; there is none in the north one. Both these embrasures are glazed with Renaissance work of considerable excellence; the one to the east dates from about 1500, and the southerly one from about eighty years later. This latter, as is to be expected, shows a liberal use of enamel [Pg 240]painting, something entirely absent in the earlier one, and each of its three lancets contains a different subject, against elaborate landscape backgrounds. The delicately outlined trees in the extreme distance are drawn upon a white field instead of upon the light blue then used in France. Such architecture as appears in the design is, of course, Renaissance. Across the whole of the easterly window is stretched one large picture, the “Eating of the Passover,” which is pleasantly brightened by the golden staves held by the figures who, with their raiment girded up and their feet shod by sandals, carry out to the full the Mosaic law, “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, with shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus xii. 2).
When about to leave this beautifully panelled charmingly glazed interior, note the small window in the west wall of the entrance vestibule. It is of a domestic type familiar during the Perpendicular epoch. In the centre are the arms of Henry VII. between two supporters. Across the quarry background are bands slanting from the left down to the right bearing the motto, “Honi soit qui mal y pense.” Some of the quarries show small leaves, and others an H surmounted by a crown. This window is similar in style to those already remarked at Salisbury, in John Halle’s hall, and others may [Pg 241]be seen in many private houses dating from that time.
Although of modest size and possessing but two windows, Gatton Chapel is as delightful a bit of complete Renaissance glazing as one will see in England.
East and west across almost the whole width of Kent run three parallel lines of low hills affording many charming views which, however, are only part of the many beauties of that picturesque county. Upon the easterly end of one of these ridges lies Sevenoaks. Although the present town is by no means an ancient one, it possesses great interest in that just below its edge lies the large estate of Knole Park which, if we may play upon words, is a series of knolls that together with their intersecting glades are shaded by groves of great beeches whose soft green foliage has for many a long day sheltered the herds of deer wandering to and fro beneath them. Upon an eminence of greater size than its fellows stands the ancient dwelling known as “Knole,” a great series of courts and quadrangles combined into an abode of such size that it is said to contain, in addition to its superb state apartments, no fewer than 365 bedrooms. Enclosed within a wide sweeping battlemented wall are charming old-world gardens that nestle about the ancient grey mansion, and [Pg 243]soften by their dainty setting of variegated flowers, green lawns and trees, the fortress-like appearance of its towers and long stretches of stone enclosure. Thanks to a fine combination of patriotism and hospitality so often seen in England, a large portion of this house is (upon payment of a trifling fee) thrown open to the study and appreciation of the public on the afternoons of Thursday and Saturday (2-5), as well as all day Friday (10-5). It is because it can be so conveniently seen by our glass-hunting pilgrim (owing to the generosity of the owners and the fact that it is under an hour by train from Charing Cross, London) that Knole has been selected to illustrate in how decorative a fashion the sixteenth century glazier could spread the gay tints of heraldic story upon his windows. Here can also be remarked one or two other minor manifestations of stained glass at that time. One of these is to be seen in the first stairway up which visitors are conducted. Upon some of its diminutive diamond-shaped panes are enamelled armorial crests, much in vogue at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the following one. On one of these little panes in the chapel of Lullingstone Castle near here appears the date 1612: these on the Knole staircase are of about the same date. This house was long the property of the See of Canterbury; perhaps the pilgrim may have one of the rare [Pg 244]opportunities to visit the bedroom so long occupied by Archbishop Cranmer and observe in the upper lights of the bay window the six large ovals containing coats of arms in enamel, bits of which have peeled off, as is so often the case with this method of applying colour. How mystified that worthy ecclesiastic would be to see the modern bathroom which now opens into his old bedroom! While speaking of Canterbury, it is of interest that we are enabled to date one of the Knole towers by the fact that a morsel of glazing high up in the traceries of one window (all that is left of the original equipment) bears a double knot, the insignia of Archbishop Bourchier, thus proving that it is at least as old as his tenancy here (1456-86). But let us come to the main reason for our visit—the Cartoon Gallery. Named after the set of Raphael’s cartoons especially copied for Charles I., and by him presented to the Earl of Dorset to decorate these walls, this long room is brilliantly lighted by a series of windows giving off upon the delightful gardens. This is no place to dwell upon the sumptuous silver furnishings of King James’ bedroom that opens out to the south, nor of the treasures of English portraiture in the rooms through which we have come to this gallery. We are here to enjoy the work of the glazier who set upon the windows the arms of the great houses allied to this one [Pg 245]by marriage. One after another they unfold themselves all along the upper lights of this series of embrasures, and tell their story in a far more brilliant manner than can ever be attained by any musty tome on genealogy. This estate was more than once the property of the Crown, and an evidence of one of these periods is provided by the appearance on some of the westerly windows of the arms of certain Law Officers of the Crown, such as the Lord Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, Master of the Requests, Judge of Admiralty, &c. These are somewhat earlier than those first mentioned and are freer from the unfortunate enamel painting.
Taking into consideration the dimensions of this superb apartment, and the paintings and glass that adorn it, together with the pleasing outlook upon the gardens below, it is doubtful if a more impressive gallery is to be found in any of the stately homes of England.
The chapel, which was built by Archbishop Cranmer, has an unpleasantly smeared east window, but upon its surface high up are a series of Apostles done in grey and stain which, if brought down to the level for which they were originally intended, would show themselves to be very attractive. At the south end of the little gallery used as the “Family Pew” are a group of about a dozen scenes in grey [Pg 246]and stain of excellent execution, and so placed as to permit of a satisfactory examination of this agreeable form of Renaissance glass-painting.
If one be travelling by bicycle or automobile, a pleasant addition to this trip may be made, on the way back to London, by taking one small détour of about ten miles to visit Nettlestead, and another of about three to West Wickham Church. The glass at both these places is Perpendicular, but not of sufficient importance to have made them stations on that tour. However, they can be so conveniently seen at this stage of our rambles that they are here duly mentioned. It is only recently that, thanks to the skilful heraldic researches of W. E. Ball, LL.D., the date of the Nettlestead windows has been discovered, as well as the significance of the many coats of arms scattered over them. Recent restoration has made complete the glazing of the entire north side and also of the east window. Note the narrow one at the north of the small chancel—quarry background with a large figure standing on a bracket, very reminiscent of sundry prototypes at St. Neot in Cornwall. The other windows on this side (except the westmost) are rich, almost florid examples of the elaborated canopy style. Indeed, so deep are the tones that one is tempted to suspect that some Frenchman had a hand in their manufacture. The [Pg 247]smaller chancel light just noted is much lower in colour and therefore more typical of the then prevailing English taste. This is also true of the westmost or “Becket window,” as it is called, because it shows scenes from that martyr’s life. The south windows retain their original glass only in the tracery lights, but it is planned to reglaze them as nearly as possible like those on the north side. Nettlestead Church is not easily noticed from the road because of some farm buildings and an orchard which mask it.
If, when we resume our journey Londonward, it be decided to take a peep at the West Wickham glass, one should be careful not to overshoot the church, for it lies at least a half-mile nearer the London road than does the village whose name it bears. The embrasures on the north and east of a chapel opening off the chancel contain examples of a saint standing on a bracket against a quarry background, which we have just observed in the Nettlestead chancel light and also on a former tour at St. Neot. The quarries here each bear the monogram “I.H.S.” in stain. The supports below the brackets are shorter than is customary. What painstaking care was used in the manufacture of these windows is revealed by an examination of the central one on the north side, bearing the familiar figure of St. Christopher carrying the infant Jesus. [Pg 248]Notice that the little pool of water in which he stands contains small golden fishes; also remark the careful leading of the three tiny red trees in the background. This very attention to detail noticeable in all the panels has much to do with the satisfactory effect of these windows.
(84 miles from London) Salisbury—125—Canterbury—180—Lincoln—135 —York (197 miles to London)
(197 miles from London) York—84—Norbury—62—Shrewsbury—29—Ludlow—24 —Hereford—28—Tewkesbury—4—Deerhurst—42—Bristol—20—Wells—63 —Exeter—130—Dorchester—12—Oxford (54 miles to London)
(54 miles from London) Oxford—27—Fairford—8—Cirencester—17—Gloucester—27—Great Malvern—2—Little Malvern—20—Ross—60—Warwick—10—Coventry—128—York (197 miles to London)
Salisbury (84 miles from London)
Winchester (68 miles from London)
St. Neot (257 miles from London)
London—53—Cambridge—103—Lichfield—41—Shrewsbury (154 miles to London)
(28 miles from London) Guildford—23—Gatton—20—Knole (24 miles to London)
With 16 Full-page Illustrations
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Spectator: “Mr. Sherrill has written a book which not only proves him to be a true lover of mediæval glass, but proves also his enlightened comprehension of its evolution and its changing style.... A pleasant and entertaining instructor.”
Sunday Times: “The illustrations are delightful, and successfully capture the blended notes of opulence and beauty which the mediæval designers threw into their work.”
Daily Telegraph: “Mr. Sherrill leads his fellow-travellers by delightful paths.... He is a model guide, and all his illustrations are to the point. It is difficult to imagine how any instructor could pack more fruitful information into a smaller or more attractive parcel.”
Morning Post: “Is well written, and in a style which shows that the author really feels the attraction of the art he describes.”
Daily Chronicle: “A distinct triumph to write a book of 250 pages on a restricted though very beautiful subject, and never become monotonous; this is the triumph Mr. Sherrill has achieved. A really delightful volume.”
Literary World: “All who care for beautiful handiwork, and all interested visitors to our old cathedrals, colleges, and churches, should possess themselves of this charming book.... The illustrations are extremely good.”
Western Morning News: “The author describes the beauties he has seen in a most interesting style, and with exceedingly good taste. This volume deserves unstinted praise.”
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The Builder: “A very well-written book, with a very good æsthetic perception as to what is best and most to be admired in ancient stained glass.”
The Antiquary: “A well-qualified guide for all who can appreciate the loveliness of the old glass in which France is still so rich.”
Roger Fry in The Burlington Magazine: “He has really looked, and looked lovingly, at the windows he describes. His knowledge is evidently adequate, and he rearranges it in a form which he who automobiles may read.”
Westminster Gazette: “Useful and interesting. Mr. Sherrill gives just enough information to enable the lay reader to understand the difficulties with which the artist in coloured glass had to contend. Moreover, he has the eloquence of a true enthusiast, and is able to communicate to others his own delight.”
Pall Mall Gazette: “Exceedingly useful. A work showing much industry, enthusiasm, and good taste, it is a really valuable supplementary volume to one’s Murray or Baedeker. The author has excellent taste.”
Morning Post: “Mr. Sherrill does feel very sincerely the beauty of stained glass, and is able to communicate his feeling in writing. Mr. Sherrill pilots us on a pleasant cruise among some of the greatest of the French examples of the style.”
British Architect: “The writer manages to say a good many interesting things. Mr. Sherrill’s book is written in a most interesting style.”
Architectural Review: “A useful book. Mr. Sherrill has an acute appreciation of the important relationship between the glass and the surrounding architecture, and he has brought the fresh mind of the amateur to his subject.”
1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters’ errors; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author’s words and intent.
2. Page numbering in the List of Illustrations has been changed from the original book to reflect the final placement of the illustration in this e-text.
3. Formatting on the List of Towns on pages 253 and 254 has been altered slightly to make it consistent throughout.
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