St. Mary's, Painswick - a Cotswold wool church courtesy suziesue
Plaque showing a typically tall Cotswold steeple - made by Philippa Threlfall & Kennedy Collings - Blackdog of Wells Fired terracottaThe Cotswold's are well known for their wonderful stone perpendicular wool churches, most having tall slender spires, which seem to soar forever high into the sky. In the Middle Ages men grew rich on the backs of sheep and with the proceeds they built themselves magnificent churches, they had plenty of cash and plenty of oolitic stone. Look across any valley, hill or meadow here, and it is likely that you will see a tall very slender spire.
However, on one hillside overlooking a valley, is a church which has a completely different pedigree. It does not replicate any style in the area and was built in 1861.
All Saints church, Selsley
courtesy Eric Hardy
All Saints church was commission and paid for by Sir Samuel Marling, a local cloth manufacturer and former Liberal Member of Parliament. As well as being a successful businessman Marling was a noted philanthropist, and was also responsible for the setting up of several schools in the area. Marling was said to have demanded a design from Bodley modelled on a church at Marling in the Austrian Tyrol, but it appears Bodley has designed a fusion of both Austrian and French design. The resulting church could, however, sit quite happily in the Austrian mountains, or for that matter the French countryside.
The church has a distinctive saddle back tower with French Gothic gables. It is one of the most important early works of the architect G.F Bodley and of great significance in the development of high Victorian architecture. It was the first church to exhibit the work of the English Arts and Craft movement, and most important of all, inside are the very first stained glass windows commissioned from William Morris - our Walthamstow Renaissance man.
Morris and Co. were formed in the year the church building commenced. A partnership between Morris, Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Philip Webb. Their capital was £20 each plus £100 from Morris's mother, and the windows in this church involved all of the partners. The outcome is an exquisite early Pre-Raphaelite gallery of their work.
The creation window above, is known to be the work of Philip Webb, but the roundel of Adam and Eve in the garden was the work of William Morris (to the left of the central Christ in Majesty roundel).
|two roundels by Philip Webb 4 images above courtesy Selsley Church|
courtesy Eric Hardy
This window showing The Resurrection is attributed to Burne-Jones, but has echoes of Piero della Francesca's version of his frescoe in the Museo Civico, Sansepolcro, Italy.
|courtesy Eric Hardy|
In the Annunciation window - Gabriel's face on the left was damaged by a stone, but the original cartoons were still held in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and were used as a reference for the replacement glass.
The damaged fragment of glass showing a remarkable likeness to Jane Morris.
A detail from the window, St. Paul preaching at Athens, by William Morris, shows another image of, I believe, Jane Morris.
courtesy Eric Hardy
Detail from Sermon on the Mount by Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Christ in this window is George Meredith (novelist and poet) Blessed Virgin Mary is Christina Rossetti (Dante's sister) Mary Magdalene is Fanny Cornforth (one of Rossetti's favourite models). It is also suggested that the figure behind Christ is Judas Iscariot and shows a depiction of Gambart (a picture dealer much disliked).
The church also has some exquisite silver designed by William Burges and made by Charles Hart of London. Having been made by Burges it is particularly valuable and mostly locked away in the diocese vaults.
Decanter by Burges from the V & A Museum
William Burges demands a post of his own sometime in the future
This is now firmly on my list of must see places. The windows are incredibly beautiful.For anyone interested in the Pre Raphaelites, this must be an amazing find. Thankyou so much for telling us about it. J.ReplyDelete
Dear Janice - although I was passionately interested in William Morris and the Pre Raphaelites for years before we moved here, I did not know about this church. It doesn't seem to be on the Morris circuit of places to visit, it appears to be relatively unknown. Imagine my delight on discovering it when I moved here to the Cotswolds! When I visited last week, there was no one around and I had the church to myself. On leaving, a hiking couple wandered down to the church, and I asked them if they knew about it. They were German and did not have a clue about Morris. I hoped that they would picked up a guide book and realise what they had seen.Delete
Two other churches with William Morris windows you might not have come across: All Saints on Putney Common in London, and the little church in Llanllwchaiarn, Newtown, Powys. Both lovely churches - the one in Putney is better known, but the Llanllwchaiarn church is just as good - and in a lovely part of mid-Wales(although Newtown isn't really so special, the countryside around is gorgeous - well, I would say so, as we live not far away!!(ReplyDelete
Dear Helva - thank you for your visit.Delete
I will make a note of the church in Llanllwchaiarn. We usually visit the area most years when we stay at Gregynog, which I wrote about here -
if you are interested.
I know the countryside very well, and you are right about it being gorgeous.
what a find! This post with all its info and images is just one I've been enjoying having 'found' you again. After Blogger and wordpress moved further apart, lost touchReplyDelete
So pleased that we have found each other again. I have just realised that I have not been seeing your posts, now that you have reminded me. I think that because you are with Wordpress I do not see your posts on my dashboard behind the blog.Delete
Glad that you have enjoyed the this, and made contact.
Dear Rosemary - I have several books on William Morris, but hadn't seen (or noticed) this early design. Thanks for that! I like the work of Phillip Webb, and was tickled to read about how the art dealer was portrayed in the Rosetti window. It reminds me of a story of a Renaissance fellow who was critical of Michelangelo, and ended up appearing in Hell, in the Last Judgement.ReplyDelete
I agree with you about Phillip Webb's work. Considering that the windows were made over 150 years ago, they do have an almost contemporary appearance.Delete
Gambart, the Picture Dealer, was very well known in London and Paris at that time. He obviously did something to upset the 'Brotherhood' which has forever sealed his fate within the window.
Artists and writers, have ways and means of getting their own back!!!
I love to see these windows. The churches a so beautiful Rosemary.ReplyDelete
Another interesting post.
Have a nice evening
Dear Marijke - so pleased that you enjoyed the post. The windows in this church are lovely and very special too having been made by William Morris. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Thank you, Rosemary, for another fascinating and educational post! I love visiting the Cotswold's for the beautiful countryside, antiques and gardens. Now, I must visit some of the churches. Do you know if they are open to the public? (I actually prefer the small-mid sized churches to the grand cathedrals.)ReplyDelete
Dear Loi - there are lovely little churches in every hamlet in the Cotswolds, and I have never come across one that is closed. You are free to wander in, read the guides to the churches and just take your time enjoying the architecture, windows, statuary, and artifacts.Delete
The church I wrote about today has extremely valuable windows, being by the Pre-Rahphalites, and yet the church door is always open during the day. Glad that you enjoyed the post.
Thanks, Rosemary! It already takes us 4-ever to drive thru the countryside of Britain. We are always stopping to be tourists. But, so worth it. And, we always ask for a late check-in at our destination hotel ;) xoxo, LDelete
Are you travelling over this year? I expect that you find the roads rather meandering after the States.Delete
I have just been booking a few places to stay, and also asked for late check ins as you never know what you might see on the road that attracts your attention.
Driving through the winding country roads in Britain is a challenge!! Especially on the opposite side and, at night. People drive so fast!! We will probably visit in Sept or Oct.Delete
It must be a challenge, I can see that. A bit like us driving in Italy, which H hates.Delete
Rosemary, I am terribly fond of churches and yours are simply a cut above any here. The stained glass is beautiful and interesting. When my grand kids leave (they must be fed three times a day) I am going to learn your circles. hugs, oliveReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed seeing the church Olive. Most of them are 700 or 800 years old, but this one is a baby, only 150 years old.Delete
You will have no trouble mastering circles, and if you have a problem then send me an email.
Every time I visit your blog I learn something new. I had never heard of the 'wool churches' or the other atypical church with the beautiful glass windows. So glad I do now.ReplyDelete
Dear Marian - in this area, medieval wool merchants were extremely rich, rather like the tulip growers in 17th century Holland, and I suppose an example today would be the hedge fund managers in the cities today. Glad you enjoyed the post.Delete
Wonderful church! The stained-glass windows are magnificent. The representations of pictorial and people are amazing. These windows allow the shadows of the light to pass into the interior of the church and give a sweet sensation . Thanks for this beautiful post .
Olympia - I am so happy that you enjoyed seeing the post and liked the beautiful windows, and I agree it does create a sweet sensation inside. Thank you.Delete
We always find it interesting to explore the local church when we visit somewhere different. I love the first photo with those architectural trees surrounding the church.ReplyDelete
That church has 99 Yew trees which are clipped in a special ceremony every year. All of the clippings go to make some medicine to treat cancer.Delete
There is a legend connected with the trees. Every time an extra tree is planted, it does not survive or an old one dies. The legend is that it is the Devil keeping the trees at 99!!!
The glass windows glow incredibly. A church with such windows is always very special and touching. The all Saints Church looks really beautiful in the in- and outside. I like how you captured the atmosphere with the inside photograph. I always have a sneak peek into churches I do not know when passing by bike or on foot. Your post shows how rewarding it is! ChristaReplyDelete
Dear Christa - I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing All Saints church. It is rewarding to call in to look at churches as you pass, you never know what treasurers you might find. Be it the architecture, the stained glass windows, or some precious objects.Delete
A great and interesting post.
What a beautiful church. The stained-glass windows are fantastic.
Thanks for sharing.
Dear Mette - glad you enjoyed seeing the church and found it interesting. The windows are rather lovely and special having been designed by the Pre-Raphalite brotherhood.Delete
intéressant les vitrauxReplyDelete
Je suis heureux que vous avez trouvé cela intéressantDelete
Fantastic! Thanks a lot, Rosemary. I'm going to reblog your post.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it Marina.Delete