IN SEARCH OF MEDIEVAL INSPIRATION: PART 1(ii)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           Fig. 23                                              Fig. 24

                             Fig. 25                                           Fig. 26

I have an interest in round tower churches, which I visit and photograph with my father – he does the driving whilst I take the photographs! There are 124 in Norfolk and we have been to about forty. I have already painted two of them (Figs. 23 {East Lexham} & 24 {Beeston}). Because many have a Saxon origin and have had a thousand years of alterations, there are many interesting architectural features to find and unravel. I love looking for blocked windows, for example, and these can sometimes be quite striking. Figures 25 and 26 are from Beeston Church. These are conglomerate framed Saxon windows now blocked with flint.

I should like to provide a few examples of the blocked Saxon windows I have photographed, not only for their own sake but because they act as a (albeit too early, historically) metaphor for what underlies my current practice – exposing medievalism to see what essential qualities lie underneath, that we share today, and which I can tap into.

                            Fig. 27                                             Fig. 28

Some blocked Saxon windows are obvious to the eye (Fig. 27 from West Lexham Church; Fig. 28 from Colney Church), whilst others are much less obvious (Fig. 29 from Letheringsett Church;

Fig. 29

                               Fig. 30                                      Fig. 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              Fig. 32                                       Fig. 33

Fig. 30 from Bexwell Church; Fig. 31 from Burnham Deepdale Church; Fig 32 from Colney Church; Fig. 33 from Shereford Church). It will be appreciated that these less obvious windows are much harder to detect in reality amongst all the stonework and not highlighted as here.

                               Fig. 34                                     Fig. 35

                              Fig. 36                                      Fig. 37

Unblocked Saxon and Norman windows are a delight too, both from the interior and exterior. Figures 34 and 35 show a Saxon double-splayed window in south nave wall as seen from the outside and inside of Shereford Church, whilst Figures 36 and 37 are illustrations of Saxon round windows, from Roughton and Bessingham, respectively.

I would now like to introduce windows that span the medieval period, progressing chronologically – Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular. I find such windows an interesting area in itself, covering the period from the 11th–16th centuries A.D, but it is also relevant, as I look more closely at medieval glass in this four-part work. It should be noted that there is no definitive answer about when styles begin and when they finish, as there is, quite understandably, considerable overlap, and no book I have read is alike, exactly, with period dates.

                              Fig. 38                                       Fig. 39

Figures 38 and 39 show a single-splayed Norman window (11th–12th century) from both outside and inside Little Snoring Church.

                              Fig. 40                                       Fig. 41

The Early English Period (mid/late 12th – late 13th century) is often characterized by ‘Y’ tracery windows as shown in Figures 40 and 41 (outside and inside, respectively) from Little Snoring Church.

Fig. 42

Figure 42 is interesting because it shows a restored ‘Y’ tracery Early English Period window with a Saxon circular double-splayed window above, the latter of which was only discovered during restoration after the church of St. Julien, in Norwich, was bombed in World War II.

                           Fig. 43                                             Fig. 44

But there were lancet windows during the Early English Period too, as Figures 42 and 43 show, taken from both outside and inside the chancel of Burnham Norton Church.

                           Fig. 45                                         Fig. 46

The Decorated Period follows the Early English and dates from about the early14th–late 14th century. Figure 45 shows Decorated Period chancel windows in Ringstead (not round towered) Church and Fig. 46 shows two Decorated Period windows from Burnham Norton Church.

                                Fig. 47                                  Fig. 48

Fig. 49

I think the finest Decorated Period windows I have come across in a rural church are at Elsing (Figs. 47 & 48). They are amazing and the 14th century colour glass just takes your breath away (Fig. 49).

                             Fig. 50                   Fig. 51                  Fig. 52

Finally, the Perpendicular Period runs from the late 14th – to late 15th/early 16th century. Figure 50 shows a Perpendicular window from the nave in Ringstead Church, whilst Figures 51 and 52 show a Perpendicular window from the south aisle of Burnham Norton Church, outside and inside, respectively.