On the Window Trail – September 2009 (2)

The following is an edit of a post which first appeared in September 2009 on The Blah Blah Blog.

Pippa Martin photographing Lawrence Lee’s window at St James’ Church, Abinger

In the morning we headed back to Abinger as the churchwarden had said he would open it up for us.  It is currently undergoing extensive renovation so was quite bare.  Lawrence Lee’s window was the only stained glass in the place – and was rather wonderful.  An abstract cross across three panels (I will learn the proper terminology when I get home, but for now you will have to make do with my clumsy descriptions).

We met up with Pippa and David again – they were on their way to a local birthday party.  Pippa said that there was a very French feel to this window and that LSL said the trouble with Victorians was that everything had to be symmetrical, but that left no margin for error.  He advised her to avoid symmetry.  She also said that LSL’s windows were never monotonous because he used such small pieces of glass.  It’s a shame we couldn’t have had her with us for the whole journey – her insights are interesting and I wanted to learn more.

LSL’s signature on the window at Holy Trinity, Bramley

We left them to their party and headed to Holy Trinity, Bramley.  This was  a very Victorian looking church with lots of gold and many many stained glass windows.  LSL’s window was quite traditional, as many of his earlier pieces are.  As he became more known and sought after, it seems he was given a freer hand in the design and interpretations.

Although this was a solo window, it is worth mentioning that LSL was unusual in that he always included the name or initials of his assistant within his signature.  Stephen remembered a lot of them as we discovered their names as we went along.  We have found a few online in the past but will be making contact for this project soon.

Stephen studies the extensive book about St Mary & All Saints, Dunsfold

Next was Dunsfold.  The church was set quite a way away from any houses and we discussed that some villages were moved away from the churches during The Plague and set up a little further away.  This church was wonderful – a fabulous old yew tree in the grounds and fascinating old wood and roof tiles to keep me happy taking photographs outside for ages.  There is so much to say about this church and I couldn’t do it justice off the top of my head, so I’ll fill in those details on the Flickr photos when I upload them.

It is worth noting here that Stephen’s preferred reading method is to remove his glasses and press his nose against the page.  He emerges every so often with a gem of information.  The glasses are useful for scratching his head.

We then headed off to Bisley and a lovely little church, also set away from the village.  This time, apparently, it was because it had been a Pilgrim’s Church – erected for travelling monks and other pilgrims.  We were let into the church by the church warden who hastily removed a notice board from in front of LSL’s very vivid window (see bottom) and swept away the cobwebs for me too.

Stephen chats to Rev Andrew Body about his father’s window at St Lawrence, Chobham

Our last church for the day was St Lawrence in Chobham.  There we met the Rev Andrew Body who was most informative about the church building and very interested in our project.  The pews each have a different carving on the end, and each one tells a story.  The pulpit was carved by teenagers – in the 1800s – and the church also boasts very rare ‘elbow supports’.  Again, I will need to learn more about this to be able to describe it fully, so watch this space if you are interested.

Detail from LSL’s window at St John the Baptist, Bisley

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About Paula Bailey

Photographer, graphic designer, maker, researcher.
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