Stained glass turned churches into the IMAX cinemas of mediaeval England

Last Sunday Bishop Andrew spoke with BBC Wilts about #StainedGlassSummer. Listen to it here (45mins in

#StainedGlassSummer is an opportunity to admire the stained glass in many of the 500 or so Diocese of Salisbury churches across Dorset and Wiltshire. Learn more about this social media campaign here.

Talking about the history of stained glass windows, Bishop Andrew explained: "Stained glass turned churches into the IMAX cinemas of mediaeval England. Cascades of kaleidoscopic colour and light onto the people gathered inside" 

Casting listeners memories back to Salisbury cathedral 100 years ago, the bishop added: "although it's still stunning, imagine how it felt if you lived in it in a small house. The stained glass would have had a remarkable effect. 

"They [stained glass windows] did tell the story of the of the saints and characters from scripture, and many of the windows still do. But their designs have now merged into telling the story of each community as well." 

The presenter, Jonathan Fido, admitted that "cathedrals and big churches" were what initially came to mind when he thought of stained glass windows but that he had seen some beautiful windows in unexpected places. 

Advocating for the local church, Bishop Andrew responded: "Absolutely, local churches are treasure troves which houses many memories for communities, family, history and spirituality." 

Stained glass windows often serve as commemorative pieces to those who have died in warfare. For example, St. John's Tisbury is currently fundraising to create its own window of contemplation and commemoration for the village. 

 They are doing this in order that there may be a corner of the church, a special place where local people, whether or not they attend church or believers, if they if they belong to that community, they belong to the church, and they can find solace under the memorial window. 

Bishop Andrew was asked if he had a favorite window in the diocese. He replied that he did, and that it was one he dedicated in the memory and glory of Her Majesty the Queen last year in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire. 

The window was initially created to commemorate the Sapphire Jubilee but was completed around the time of her passing. It is full of symbolism and cultural features of her life during her reign. 

"My favourite bit on this window, as a Beatles fan, is the Beatles drum kit with twin guitars!" The bishop concluded. 

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