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The stained glass window in the ringing gallery fills the whole of one wall. It is somewhat larger than the east window in the chancel, but it is less accessible to the casual observer. It was designed by Burlison & Grylls, and installed in 1885 in memory of Com. Elliott Mores, who had been a church warden for much of the 1860s, and was instrumental in achieving the major restoration of the church at that time.
The guide books describe the window as representing the Te Deum, which it does in part, since it contains 17 of the Te Deum’s 29 verses. For some reason they appear in a rather jumbled order – perhaps there was a mixup in the design team! But there is much more to the imagery than this. The design includes seventy saints and angels, as well as Christ.
Only three of them are named, but it is possible to work out who many of them are intended to be. Christian artists over the years have used a set of conventions for representing different saints, based on significant features of their lives. So by looking at what they are holding, what they are doing, how they are dressed, and of course what they look like, you can work out who is depicted – providing you can read the ‘code’. It’s not quite as simple as that, because there is quite a bit of variability between artists about which aspects to include
So far, we have identified about a third of the people in the window, and it would be good to find out who the remaining ones are. There are detailed pictures of the window on the tower website, with an analysis of what we know so far. If you think you can help to fill any of the gaps, or correct any errors, then please let me know.
To see the pictures and descriptions, go to the tower website at: www.allsaintswokinghambells.org.uk/ and type ‘window’ into the search box. Alternatively, follow links to Tower > Ringing room > Window .
John Harrison (Jan 2011)
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