I told you in my previous post about my year of scholarship… and learning and immersing myself in my subject.
The other day I did a road trip to my local locale with my mentor deb. And this morning I feel humbled and in complete awe….Stained glass, my chosen medium.
Stained glass in an ecclesiastical setting is just a whole ‘nother level!
On our pilgrimage we chanced upon parishioners, church wardens, vicars and lay people. Local produce for sale. Local notices. Local names. Local knowledge. The history and stories contained within these buildings was so very grounding. It was a privilege, as well as an unexpected pleasure, to meet the protectors and preservers of these special places.
In Natland the work of Kendal stained glass artist Sarah Sutton. Beautiful figurative windows capturing motherhood and humanity. Standing alongside older works that remembered families and faces lost in the war. Such a proud sense of community found here.
What a start!
From there to Cartmel Priory. Immediately from the outside I was struck by its presence and scale. How it sits so fine. And then we entered. Oh my. Why (to my knowledge) have I never been inside here before. (Exclaim)
Cartmel priory is a place of such peace and calm, majesty and beauty. Cathedral type proportions. Illuminated soft warm stone. The carvings and colour were exquisite.. I felt like I was in a foreign place. Was this really Cumbria? Victorian glass competing with mediaeval glass. Absolutely stunning all of it. And once again we attracted stories from helpers within.. the vicar telling us of how he is trying to think of ideas to get people back into churches.. for the sense of spirituality and belonging. He fears it will become lost. Another gentleman drew our attention to the glass and statues and how some was lost to the Roundheads during the reformation. Decapitated statues and stories of hung drawn and quartered monks. (What a history we have eh) And how some treasures were secreted to local smaller churches to protect them and preserve… why a monk from Cartmel can be found in Cartmel fell perhaps!
Cartmel Fell church is a beautiful wee gem. I’ve visited here a number of times. And now I begin to understand maybe why this little church has such beautiful medieval glass. Perhaps this tucked away modest jem has always been a place of sanctuary.
From there to Bowness (but alas we couldn’t get parked!).. so onto Troutbeck and Staveley to view the William Morris gems that I have clapped eyes on before…But would be new to debs!
I will always be blown away by these jewels. As was Deb. They are something else. I have heard that these two parishes competed with each other to have William Morris windows… ”if it’s good enough for… then we must have it too!!”.. I don’t know if the tale is true…Either way, we are fortunate to have such gems so close together (and so close to me!)
Deb asked,’did I have a favourite?’
I’m not sure. But…
Maybe I do.
Or maybe that star studded sky that takes you to heaven was just the prefect way to end our day.
Peace and a good long sit down gazing upon it.
Boy did we need a cup of tea after all that.
Humbled and in absolute awe.
Try a cathedral or two. I am working my way through Simon Jenkins Cathedrals of England. Started with Guildford then Durham. Wow.