Richly Decorated Apse / by Sasha Ward

Central window, Christ resurrected & detail, HB&B 1888

The apse is in St Nicholas, East Grafton, a church in a scenic position on the village green. It is a Victorian church designed in the Romanesque style by Benjamin Ferrey in the 1840s, with a decorative interior scheme by Thomas Willement and stained glass by a number of different firms. The windows that interest me are the three in the apse by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, because they look absolutely great in combination with the painted walls and window reveals. The wall painting is geometric, floral ornamentation while the glass designs are unusually devoid of pattern or border. The glass is mostly white with brown paint and silverstain, some patches of red and a beautiful piece of light blue in St Margaret's palm leaf (below right). These colours link the windows back to the painting on the walls.

Left hand window, St Margaret & details, HB&B 1888

The billowing clouds make a complete contrast with the patterned walls, they give the windows a feeling that is so light and full of air although they are heavily painted. At each side is a smaller narrow opening filled with clear lozenges. These complete the semi circle of the apse wall in a very satisfying way, different styles but nothing jarring. 

Right hand window, St Nicholas & detail, HB&B 1887