27 September 2019

Credal Window

We have had a look in Haddenham church, just across the county border in Buckinghamshire. As in so many English churches, there were clearly substantial survivals there of medieval glass; destruction by sixteenth century reformers, and Puritan vandalism, undoubtedly happened, but affected quite a small part of England. As far as the South West is concerned, Symonds' diaries, and Milles' notes, indicate how much medieval glass survived (respectively) in the 1640s and the 1740s. The Georgians did have a bit of a passion for plain glass; but my instinct is that most of what has since been lost simply fell victim to decay and lack of interest. Around Oxford, for example, the recusant squire of Milton Manor in the 1760s was able to collect, and insert in the 'Strawberry Hill' chapel which was part of his house, quite a bit of mediaeval glass from local churches ... clearly, they were quite willing to let it go! Perhaps he gave them some lovely plain glass in lieu? An 'Alderman Fletcher', who became interested in such survivals, was able to collect a vast amount of glass, much of it of fine quality, in the 1820s. Some superb panels of the martyrdom of S Thomas left his collection for the windows at the end of Duke Humphrey; the residue he donated to Yarnton church just north of this City, where it can still be enjoyed.

What survived in many churches until the later nineteenth century tended to be gathered together by the church restorers into one or two windows, often consisting of unrelated quarries juxtaposed in patterns. At Haddenham, one window apparently contains a couple of figures of Apostles ... and a considerable amount of writing. The disjecta membra of the Apostles' Creed can easily be discerned.

Thirteen or fourteen years ago, in Brittany (I can't remember where; somewhere near Pontrieux), I came across a perfectly preserved late medieval window showing each of the Apostles with that clause of the Creed which, tradition held, he had contributed. Clearly, just such a window once existed at Haddenham.

4 comments:

Simon Cotton said...

It's not just in stained glass that you see Apostkles with clauses from the creeds. They are also found on roodscreens, a good example being Weston Longville in Norfolk (Parson Woodforde's church). http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/westonlongville/westonlongville.htm has pictures.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. What you relate is all well and good but all that you reveal pales when compared to Saint Patrick's Church in Portland, Maine where JFK, and his brother Bobby, are depicted as Saints.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200379081372259&set=a.10200379074652091&type=3&theater

When men complain that there has been a separation of church and state in America, it is clear they have not been inside St Pat's.

Banshee said...

Now, now. There are no haloes. Historical windows are a thing, just like donor portraits being included in sacred pictures and even altarpieces. The picture also shows the bishop of Portland, Maine and the diocesan seal. (Btw, the first bishop was Bacon, not Healy, but I think they are showing the contemporary bishop, Daniel Feeney, who was a native of Portland.)

Not saying it is not tacky.

Anyway, that was a new building, built in 1964, in a very liberal archdiocese. So yes, tacky was a thing. Also, a lot of people thought JFK was a bonafide martyr, too, having been killed by a Communist or the Mafia or the evul Republicans as part of an anti-Catholic plot (if you asked some people). And finally, there were many ties between Boston and Portland, so in terms of Catholic history, things seemed bier to them than to Irish Catholics in Ohio.

Since the church closed down in 2013, the parish follies are a bit past worrying about.

Banshee said...

Now, what was a bit iffy was our pastor at my old parish commissioning a Mother Teresa window in the sacristy, with halo, before the canonization was a done deal in any way. But it worked out....