Heaton Butler & Bayne

2000 windows by Sasha Ward

On local church crawling trips (which I really prefer to do without a guidebook) you mainly see stained glass windows made either in the nineteenth century or the year 2000. On my last trip across the Wiltshire border and into Berkshire, there were two classic examples of these millenium windows.

Inside St Mary, Kintbury, millenium window by Di Gold to the left of the altar

Inside St Mary, Kintbury, millenium window by Di Gold to the left of the altar

The first is in St Mary Kintbury, a church that is clean and bright and was open on both my visits. The millenium window (above), by an artist I don’t know, is tucked to the left of the altar and partly obscured by something directly behind it in the churchyard. In terms of stained glass, I would call its style naive, with thin paintwork and deliberately wobbly lead lines. You can see what I mean when you compare the figure in it of The Good Woman to the figure of St Peter in a truly accomplished window in the same church by Heaton, Butler & Bayne (below).

(Amusing) comparison of St Peter (H,B&B 1862) & The Good Woman (2000)

(Amusing) comparison of St Peter (H,B&B 1862) & The Good Woman (2000)

In the church are three windows by H,B&B, this one to the right of the entrance door is my favourite. The colour is luminous even through the extensive paintwork, with lovely detail in the sky, water and clothes - there are even drops and stains from the water on St Peter’s robes (click on image below to enlarge).

St Mary, Kintbury with window showing Jesus walking on the water by Heaton, Butler and Bayne (1862)

Inside St Mary’s Hamstead Marshall. Window by Mark Angus (2000) in the nave to the left of the altar.

Inside St Mary’s Hamstead Marshall. Window by Mark Angus (2000) in the nave to the left of the altar.

The second church is in a beautiful spot outside the village of Hamstead Marshall and open on two out of three recent visits. It’s a simple, lovely brick building with a shock of a millenium window at the east end of the nave. This one, again partly obscured by stuff growing outside, is by the instantly identifiable artist Mark Angus. All of the glass is bright, the colour combination is similar to the bottom of my favourite H,B&B window (see below) but unrelieved by any neutral or pale colours. There is some painting and also some screen printing in his literal depiction of the pair of columns that are in the field next to the church.

Left, screen printed detail on column by Mark Angus (what looks white in the photo is really bright yellow). Right, the robes of Jesus by H,B&B.

Left, screen printed detail on column by Mark Angus (what looks white in the photo is really bright yellow). Right, the robes of Jesus by H,B&B.

In the Mark Angus window a bright red X literally marks the spot where Hamstead Marshall sits on a map of the local area. I would call the style of this millenium window typical of the late twentieth century, with disconnected angular lead lines, graphic details and emphatic geometry. Although shocking and incongruous in the church’s interior, I don’t want to be too hard on the composition which is at least bold and may, of course, come back into fashion.

Left, one of several pairs of columns in the adjacent field. Right, another literal Mark Angus detail.

Left, one of several pairs of columns in the adjacent field. Right, another literal Mark Angus detail.

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

St John The Baptist, Kingston Lisle by Sasha Ward

Area of painted wall and brightly coloured glass, dated 1859

Area of painted wall and brightly coloured glass, dated 1859

I found this one by chance when church crawling in the Vale of The White Horse, near Uffington, the territory of William Morris, John Betjeman and John Piper. St John the Baptist is a small 12th century church, allegedly founded in response to pagan worship on nearby White Horse Hill. The interior was largely untouched by the Victorians and it has recently had a thorough restoration. There are relatively large areas of 14th century wall paintings, 15th - 17th century woodwork and an interesting selection of stained glass windows.

Detail of wall painting, lovely colours from the stained glass on the edge of right hand photo.

Detail of wall painting, lovely colours from the stained glass on the edge of right hand photo.

I'm getting better at guessing the makers of 19th century stained glass, but there is no need in this church. The obviously interesting window with the arts & crafts style red sky (below left) and foliage has a very legible makers' name handwritten in a way you don't often see (below right) under the title, as if it's a line in an exercise book. 

'Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life' by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London

'Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life' by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London

Left: great painting in detail from HBB window.  Right: St Raphael from the Kempe window

Left: great painting in detail from HBB window.  Right: St Raphael from the Kempe window

Next, at the belfry end of the church, there appeared to be a smallish Kempe window (below left). There is the general greeny yellowness of the glass and the peacock feather wings, but I mostly identify Charles Eamer Kempe windows by the facial features of, in this case, the three saints. I was very pleased to see his identifying maker's symbol in the bottom left of the window - a castle in a wheat sheaf (below right).

C.E. Kempe window and detail from bottom left panel with the identifying mark.

C.E. Kempe window and detail from bottom left panel with the identifying mark.

There are two fragmentary windows to the right of the altar, shown up beautifully on a dull day with soft light and trees as a backdrop. I would say the green man in silverstain is medieval glass. The other is a piece of painted and etched glass patched together, showing a crest with a fabulously easy latin motto: VIRTUS IN ACTIONE CONSISTIT. The date of this one is, for me, hard to guess.

ST Mary's Church, Cheltenham by Sasha Ward

I've learnt not to ask about the stained glass when visiting churches as the information I want (who made it? when?) is rarely there. I am usually told that it's only Victorian and then given stories about the iconography. However in the oldest building in Cheltenham, St Mary's Church, there are two guide books which in combination tell you almost everything you need to know. One takes you around the church with pictures, plans and bible references, while the other (not to be taken away) gives you historical information.

The Rose Window, William Wailes glass 1879         Detail from the Central West Window, Heaton, Butler & Bayne 1885

The Rose Window, William Wailes glass 1879         Detail from the Central West Window, Heaton, Butler & Bayne 1885

The beauty of The Rose Window (above left) is in the fourteenth century tracery, slightly angled and very low in the wall  - east facing in the north transept. All of the windows on this level are filled with stained glass from the late nineteenth century.  Here are photographs of some of my favourite details: the H,B&B radiating star (above right), The Parable of the Talents (below left), foliage done in a completely different way by Clayton & Bell in the window of St. Peter (below right) where I also love the painted ship and the pale landscape colours.

South Aisle, Bell & Son 1877                                                      The Chancel, Clayton & Bell 1879

South Aisle, Bell & Son 1877                                                      The Chancel, Clayton & Bell 1879

I'm not able to guess which firm made the North Transept window (information missing from the book) whose apostles showed up well in the afternoon sunlight (below). The L,B&W Last Supper Window also looks particularly good in the fine ancient tracery and is full of the sort of details that people love to point out. This from the guide book: 'Can you see the disciple with the brown halo in the far right panel? This is probably Judas Iscariot..." 

Top : Matthew, Mark, Luke & John from The North Transept Window.  Below : The Last Supper Window, Lavers, Barraud & Westlake 1880   

Top : Matthew, Mark, Luke & John from The North Transept Window.  Below : The Last Supper Window, Lavers, Barraud & Westlake 1880