Stained Glass in St. Petroc's Church

Research provided by Michael G Swift shows the stained glass windows, when read with care and background knowledge, contain a great deal of interest, and have many points of significance within the religious, social, and economic contexts of the decades when they were inserted.

 

Photographs with a black background were taken by Aleister Smith.

Starts at east window behind high altar: e1   s2   s3   s4   s5   s6   s7   s8   s9   s10   s11   w1   n11   n10   n9   n8   n7   n6   n5   n4   n3   n2.

e1. Chancel east, 1898

e1. Chancel east, 1898

This impressive five-light window shows the Ascension of Christ with St Michael in the lower section, flanked by a rich assortment of biblical and later personages. It was inserted in 1898 and was designed and made by the prestigious firm of Clayton and Bell ... (click link to continue).

s2. South Chapel east, 1886

s2. South Chapel east, 1886

This six-light window is the largest in St Petroc’s and was made in 1886 by the Plymouth firm of Fouracre & Watson. It was their largest single commission in Cornwall. Many of the firm’s Cornish commissions owed much to their Masonic connections; the firm’s earliest windows were for the Masonic Lodge in Bodmin. The window, donated by Revd Walter Raleigh Gilbert, husband (widower) of dedicatee Mrs Clara Gilbert ... (click link to continue).

s3. South 1, 1898

s3. South 1, 1898

A second Clayton & Bell window, also inserted in 1898, is in memory of John Pomeroy Gilbert, second son of Revd Walter Raleigh Gilbert, who died 8th July 1898 aged 8. The Arms, crest and motto of Gilbert of The Priory, Bodmin are in the tracery. The four predella scenes from the childhood of Christ are all done with the quality of design, colour and glass painting that made this firm’s reputation, but it is the main lights showing the ever-popular Victoria ... (click link to continue.)

s4. South 2, 1884

s4. South 2, 1884

It would be a mistake to dismiss this non-pictorial window. At first sight, the repetitive roundel and diamond motifs, set in square decorated quarries, seems to have little interest. The window was inserted at the 1884 restoration, in a prominent position in the Lady Chapel, as a memorial to Robert Edyvean, who died 18th September 1880, and tells us a great deal about him. His initials appear six times in the diamond motifs together with ... (click link to continue.)

s5. South 3, 1869

s5. South 3, 1869

This is an earlier Clayton & Bell of 1869, dedicated to William Robert Hicks, JP, of Bodmin, formerly Superintendent of the County Lunatic Asylum, who died 5th September 1868. In its style and colours, it reflects the earlier years of the studio. The iconography seems entirely appropriate to the profession of the dedicatee with its emphasis on acts of healing and miracles. Sadly, this is another window, like window s2, whose effectiveness is diminished through paint loss.

s6. South Aisle 1, 1890

s6. South Aisle 1, 1890

The first of several windows commemorating the memory of members of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry over many campaigns. It is a Clayton & Bell design, inserted in 1890. It is the only D.C.L.I. window in the church with a single dedication, to Colonel Henry Sparke Stabb, 1st Battalion the DCLI, who died 22nd October 1888 at Pietermaritzburg. It was donated by Officers, NCOs and men of the Regiment. The arms of his family and of the D.C.L.I. are ... (click link to continue).

s7. South Aisle 2, 1891

s7. South Aisle 2, 1891

The theme of St Michael triumph of good over evil was repeated in this window by Clayton & Bell, again for the Egyptian campaign of 1882-5. It introduces new themes to military memorials, where Longinus at the foot of the Cross marks the conversion of a soldier to Christianity. St. Piran is shown preaching, whilst the patronal St. Petroc protects a hunted stag. These were amongst the earliest representations in stained glass of these pivotal Cornish saints ... (click link to continue).

s8. South Aisle 3, 1892

s8. South Aisle 3, 1892

By Clayton & Bell. The dedicatee is Mary Henderson, wife of George Henderson, JP. In contrast to the previous military subjects, this iconography is entirely feminine. The tone is set in the tracery with three of the Beatitudes, blessed are the meek, the poor in spirit, and the pure in heart. Victorian memorial windows to wives and mothers frequently stressed the Christian character of the deceased ... (click link to continue).

s9. South Aisle 4

s9. South Aisle 4

Most, but not all of St Petroc’s plain glazing windows from earlier decades of the 19th century were later replaced by full stained glass, and it takes some effort of the imagination to picture what the church must have looked like before the windows that have been described so far were inserted after 1882. Window s9 gives us that image, entirely glazed with cathedral tinted glass which gives a hint of colour to the church’s interior ... (click link to continue).

s10. South Aisle 5, 1877

s10. South Aisle 5, 1877

This was inserted in 1877, probably replacing a cathedral tinted earlier window. It is a memorial window given by the parents to six children of William Henry and Sarah Ann Parkyn. The individual dedicatees are not named, and all the details are symbolic or decorative. The tracery contains the sacred monograph ‘ihs’ flanked by alpha and omega. The repetition of central diamonds in the main lights is rendered less monotonous by the varied motives ... (click link to continue).

s11. South Aisle West.

s11. South Aisle West.

See the comments on window s9, but with one important detailed change. It will be obvious that the uniformity of the cathedral tinted glass is somewhat relieved here by the insertion of a row of ‘bull’s eyes’, the central remainder of a disc of crown glass. Today these are regarded as quaintly Dickensian, but in the nineteenth century were either discarded or as in this case used to decorative effect.

W1. West, 1868

W1. West, 1868

It was inserted in 1868 after the organ had been moved. It was dedicated to Revd John Wallis who was vicar of Bodmin for 49 years from 1817. The main subjects are the four evangelists on either side of the figure of Christ, with the sacred symbols of ‘ihs’ and ‘alpha/omega’ in the tracery. What is most striking of this window is the richness and depth of the colours, in marked contrast to the more subdued ... (click link to continue).

n11. North Aisle West

n11. North Aisle West

Same as s9. Most, but not all of St Petroc’s plain glazing windows from earlier decades of the 19th century were later replaced by full stained glass, and it takes some effort of the imagination to picture what the church must have looked like before the windows that have been described so far were inserted after 1882. It gives us that image, entirely glazed with cathedral tinted glass which gives a hint of colour to the church’s interior ... (click link to continue).

n10. North Aisle 5

n10. North Aisle 5

Same as s9. Most, but not all of St Petroc’s plain glazing windows from earlier decades of the 19th century were later replaced by full stained glass, and it takes some effort of the imagination to picture what the church must have looked like before the windows that have been described so far were inserted after 1882. It gives us that image, entirely glazed with cathedral tinted glass which gives a hint of colour to the church’s interior ... (click link to continue).

n9. North Aisle 4

n9. North Aisle 4

See the comments on the decorative panel window s4. South Chapel south 2. The inscription indicates an 1865 date of death for the dedicatee Robert Flamank, but the rest is illegible. Like the other three windows in this format, it was installed at the 1884 restoration. The tracery does contain the initials ‘RF’.

n8. North Aisle 3

n8. North Aisle 3

The D.C.L.I. memorial window for the Great War was not made by Clayton & Bell but by Hubert Blanchford of Exeter and installed in 1923. The tracery contains the regiment armorial with two angels holding the county armorial. The originality of the window lies in the image of the soldier: the only windows in Cornwall that portray an ordinary soldier of the Great War are in this 1914-18 regimental window at Bodmin and the war memorial window at Lelant ... (click link to continue).

n7. North Aisle 2

n7. North Aisle 2

This is the last of the Clayton & Bell war memorial windows, commemorating the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry’s South Africa Campaign 1899–1902. It was inserted in 1903 and unveiled by the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe standing in for the Prince of Wales who was unable to attend. This regimental memorial window is the most ambiguous of all war memorial windows in Cornwall. The main lights show saints Martin, Maurice, Gerron and Longinus ... (click link to continue).

n6. North Aisle 1

n6. North Aisle 1

Same as s4. Like the other decorative panel windows (s4 and n9) with the same format, it was inserted during the 1884 restoration. The initials WHL refer to the dedicatee Captain William Henry Liddell, RN, former commander of HMS Tamar, died 7th June 1880. The Western Morning News Dec 24, 1884, states "The windows were all glazed and painted by Messrs. Bell and Co., the well-known London firm", indicating that Clayton & Bell might well have been responsible for them.

n5. North Chapel North 3

n5. North Chapel North 3

n5. and n4. are in plain glass with the leads forming a six-pointed star motif. It is believed that these were glazed by George Snell of Cober Valley Studio in 2001 to replace earlier windows that had suffered vandal damage. There is no record of what the earlier window was. The "star" is more a Seal of Solomon than a Star of David; each panel contains two triangles; one red, one blue, and the intersections alternate red-over-blue and blue- over-red ... (click link to continue).

n4. North Chapel North 2

n4. North Chapel North 2

n4 and n5. are in plain glass with the leads forming a six-pointed star motif. It is believed that these were glazed by George Snell of Cober Valley Studio in 2001 to replace earlier windows that had suffered vandal damage. There is no record of what the earlier window was. The "star" is more a Seal of Solomon than a Star of David; each panel contains two triangles; one red, one blue, and the intersections alternate red-over-blue and blue-over-red ... (click link to continue).

n3. North Chapel North 1

n3. North Chapel North 1

This is the earliest surviving stained glass window in St Petroc’s Church, and dates from 1859. Its style is typical of the early Gothic Revival with single figures, very elongated, in bright primary colours. The allegorical figures of Faith and Hope with the figure of Christ as Love were very popular at that time. The window was donated by the five surviving children, ‘in grateful memory of their beloved parents, John P. Watkin, who died May 7th,1846 ... (click link to continue).

n2. North Chapel East, 1936

n2. North Chapel East, 1936

The final window in this sequence is also the most recent. It is a late First World War window made by the studio of A.K. Nicholson and was inserted in 1936. It forms a fitting climax to the series of memorial windows dedicated to the fallen in warfare. The tracery shows the crucifixion with Mary and John. It will be noticed that the cross forms not a tree of death but of life, the leaves growing for the “Healing of Nations.” On the other parts ... (click link to continue).

Michael G Swift's entire document including sources and conclusion: