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STAINED GLASS
TOURS IN ENGLAND

BY CHARLES HITCHCOCK SHERRILL
WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY: MCMX




SECOND EDITION

Printed by BALLANTYNE &. CO. LIMITED
Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London




STAINED GLASS TOURS IN
ENGLAND




BY THE SAME AUTHOR

STAINED GLASS TOURS
IN FRANCE. WITH
NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS.




[Illustration: KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL, CAMBRIDGE]




TO

LEWIS F. DAY

FROM ONE
WHOM HE TAUGHT
TO LOVE
STAINED GLASS




FOREWORD


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 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._




CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION _Page_ 1
TOURS 17

EARLY ENGLISH 21
EARLY ENGLISH TOUR 29
SALISBURY 30
CANTERBURY 36
LINCOLN 51
YORK 57

DECORATED 65
DECORATED TOUR 75
YORK 76
NORBURY 82
SHREWSBURY 85
LUDLOW 92
HEREFORD 96
TEWKESBURY 100
DEERHURST 104
BRISTOL 107
WELLS 114
EXETER 120
DORCHESTER 124
OXFORD 129

PERPENDICULAR 135
PERPENDICULAR TOUR 140
OXFORD 142
FAIRFORD 148
CIRENCESTER 154
GLOUCESTER 158
GREAT MALVERN 166
LITTLE MALVERN 172
ROSS 174
WARWICK 177
COVENTRY 181
YORK 185
SALISBURY 192
WINCHESTER 195
ST. NEOT 203

RENAISSANCE 209
RENAISSANCE TOURS 214
LONDON 216
CAMBRIDGE 223
LICHFIELD 230
GUILDFORD 236
GATTON 239
KNOLE 242

ITINERARIES 251

LIST OF TOWNS 253




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS


_To face
page_

Cambridge, King's College Chapel _Frontispiece_

General Map 18

Map of Early English Tour 30

Canterbury, "Becket's Crown" 36
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. Tombof 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 76

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 100
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" 116
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 140

Oxford, New College Antechapel 144
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.

Gloucester, Choir 162
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.

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.

Winchester, Nave 200
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 240
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.




STAINED GLASS TOURS
: : IN ENGLAND : :

INTRODUCTION


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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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
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 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 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


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Online LibraryCharles Hitchcock SherrillStained glass tours in England → online text (page 1 of 13)