N Window

Windows

Everyone coming into the south transept of Hexham Abbey faces the rich colour of six tall windows in the north wall. These lancets date from the middle of the 13th century, but the glass that fills them was set there only in Victorian times. Like all the Abbey windows, these long ago lost the jewel-like glass that once drenched the medieval priory with glowing colour. After the canons were expelled in 1537, reformers and puritans destroyed all such idolatrous images.

In 1873 the sons of Bentham and Eleanor Hall restored stained glass to these lancets as a memorial to their parents. Most of the Abbey windows similarly recovered their beauty over the following decades, as the movement to bring back colour and imagery to English churches reached its peak. It was fuelled by romantic enthusiasm for the Gothic past, and by high-church revival of Catholic practices and belief in the beauty of holiness. It was made possible by rediscovery of medieval glass-making techniques, and the emergence of glass makers like C E Kempe, Henry Holiday, and the former Newcastle grocer, William Wailes.

Later the the great east and west windows were also given new glass, and the lesser windows between them. Gradually the Abbey filled again with some of the translucent colour that must once have enriched it.

Here, we go round the Abbey clockwise from those six lancets, reading the windows from top to bottom, giving subjects, dates, makers, and dedicatees (imo = in memory of).

North Transept, North Wall: Upper: New Testament subjects. Lower: Apostles and their emblems (from top left): James the Greater, Philip, Simon, Matthias; Andrew (our patron saint in the dominant position), Peter, Thomas, Thaddeus/Jude; John, Bartholomew, James the Less, Matthew. 1873, drawn by Oliphant, designed by William Bell Scott, made by Wailes, Son & Strang of Newcastle. imo Bentham Hall, a Newcastle wood carver and gilder, and his wife Eleanor.

North Transept Aisle: 4 windows erected by the Fairless family. North wall: The Resurrection scene. 1847–79, probably by Wailes. imo Elizabeth Fairless (by her husband Joseph, noted local historian).

East wall: [1] St. Paul and Mary Magdalene
[2] Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary
[3] St Peter and St Anne.
All 1880, adapted by Hardman of Birmingham from a window in Sante Croce, Florence. imo Thomas, Joseph and Elizabeth Farless (their brother and parents) by their sons.

North Choir Aisle. North wall: [1] The Ascension. 1870–79, by Jean Baptiste Capronnier of Brussels; blue sky c1960 by Hartley Wood of Monkwearmouth. imo Ann Kirsopp.
[2] Epiphany window. Adoration of the Magi. 1879, maker unknown. imo George Scott & J D Bell.
[3] 3 medallions: Good Wife, Harvest, Safe Haven. 1874–79, probably by Wm Wailes of Gateshead. imo the Waddilove family.
[4] Jesus & Mary Magdalene in Martha’s house. 1872–79, probably by Clayton & Bell of London. Given by John Head, bank manager, imo his wife Mary.
[5] St. Peter. 1872, probably by Clayton & Bell. Given by John Head imo his parents Charles Head (a solicitor) and Betsey.

East wall: St Wilfrid, our Founder, with arms of York, Ripon, Chichester. 1899, by C E Kempe of London. imo William. & Margaret Kirsopp.

The Great East Window: Upper:  St. Andrew‘s Call, Preaching, Martyrdom. imo Wm & Jane Ellis. Lower:  The progress of Christianity at Hexham:  Christ the Light with the Roman heathens; The Living Bread with Etheldreda and Wilfrid with Abbey plans; the Good Shepherd with Cuthbert confirming the young. imo John & Andrew Hyslop; George Bell; William., Elizabeth & Dorothy Alexander.  1905, by H T Bosdet of Chiswick.

South Choir Aisle. East wall:  Portrait of F W Farrar (1831–1903), Dean of Canterbury, headmaster, scholar, popular author. 1906, by Bosdet. imo Dean Farrar, erected by Canon Savage, Rector 1898–1919, and his wife, the Dean’s daughter.

South wall: [1] Nativity window, 4 medallions:  Going to Jerusalem, Presentation in the Temple, Birth, Annunciation.  1842–79, probably by Wailes.  Given by James Bell imo Margaret (wife) & John (son).
[2] Medallions: Angels, Resurrection, Crucifixion, Lazarus. 1871–79, probably by Wailes. imo Jane & Isabella, daughters of Mark Carr.
[3] Good Samaritan. 1855–79, maker unknown; c1960, blue sky by Hartley Wood. imo John Taylor (solicitor) and sisters Margt & Harriet.
[4] St Andrew with Alcmund, Eata, Wilfrid, John of Beverley, Acca, Fredbert. 1920, by Atkinson Bros. (Newcastle). imo John Head.

South Transept Aisle: [1] Christ blessing children. 1904, by Henry Holiday, (Hampstead; one of the best and most prolific C19 designers). imo Canon H C Barker (Rector 1866–98).
[2] Water at the well. After 1887, by Mayer & Co.(Munich). imo John Nicholson, Abbey organist & choirmaster 1865–81.

South Transept: South wall: The Tyrrell Window. The window reflects upon the theme of hospitality, at the centre of which is the chalice and bread of communion. 2012, by Alan Davis (Whitby, North Yorkshire); by the generous bequest of Geoffrey and Marjorie Tyrrell (died 2010).

Nave. The West Window. Northern Saints with episodes from their histories. Tracery: (Decorated style, butterfly outline by Temple Moore) angels adore Christ in Majesty. Upper: Paulinus, Aidan, Edwin (king and martyr), Acca, Venerable Bede. Middle: Oswald (king), Wilfrid, Etheldreda (queen), Cuthbert, John of Beverley. Lower: Battle of Heavenfield, Plans of Hexham Abbey, Etheldreda’s grant to Wilfrid, Farne Islands, John received at Lee. 1918, by H T Bosdet. imo Charles Henderson, who chose the subject before his death.

Nave Aisle. West wall: Baptistry or Children’s Window. Tracery filled with cherubim and seraphim; Augustine baptizing Ethelbert (pagan king of Kent); Pope Gregory and Anglian slaves; Queen Bertha praying for Ethelbert’s conversion. 1908, by Bosdet. imo her parents by Sarah Fairless.

North wall: [1] Royal British Legion, 50th Anniversary. Tracery: Crosses of St Patrick, St George, St Andrew. Service Badges of Navy, Air Force; Northumberland CC, British Legion, Hexham UDC, Army, Merchant Navy, all superimposed on Union Flag.  1972, designed by Stanley Murray Scott for Reed Millican, made by Hartley Wood.
[2] Royal Air Force Association war memorial. Tracery: Stars, expressing R.A.F. motto: Per Ardua ad Astra. Badge of RAF/RFC; Emblem of RAFA; Arms of Hexham; and a fighter aeroplane shape. 1965, designed by S M Scott, made by Hartley Wood.
[3] St. Etheldreda. Tracery: 7 angels. Her marriage to Ecgfrid (incorporating 3 fragments of glass from Roman Corbridge), taking the veil, and miraculous posthumous appearance. 1909, by Davidson & Walker (Newcastle). To commemorate the rebuilding of the nave by Canon Sidney Savage.

Text: Colin Dallison