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Flintshire Historical Society publications


Vol. 11 1925

Ancient stained and painted glass in Flintshire

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Ancient Stained and Painted Glass
in Flintshire.
It is a regrettable fact that no serious attempt has been made
to compile an inventory of ancient glass in Wales on similar lines
as that compiled by Dr. Nelson for England, in his valuable book
"Ancient Painted Glass." It is proposed in these pages to give
a simple account and to record the examples of this ancient art
which remain in Flintshire. The writer claims no special
knowledge of stained and painted glass, but he has acquired, to
some extent, a "glass eye"-the essential qualification for the
appreciation and enjoyment of this delightful art.
In the first place it is necessary to remember that the stained
and painted glass with which our ancient Churches were glazed,
was there for a definite purpose--the instruction of the simple
and unlettered souls who attended the ministrations of a particular
Church. It was not a question of "Art for Art's sake." The
object of the Craftsman was to produce work useful and fitting to
the end in view, the decorative and artistic effect was more or
less an afterthought.
The storied windows taught the truths of Holy Writ, the
dogmas and creeds of the Church, the legends of her Saints and
Heroes, with a directness and force which the words of the Priest
could not. The Jesse Windows portrayed the prophecy and the
fulfilment of the Incarnation; the Apostles bearing scrolls on
which were written the sentence which according to legend they
contributed to the Apostle's Creed; the Evangelists bearing their
symbols; the Te Deum with its wealth of imagery; Saints and
Doctors, Martyrs and Heroes, the Incarnation, Life and Death of
Christ were all pictured either in glass or by its sister art, mural
painting on the walls of the Church.
Unfortunately little of this is left for us to-day. A great deal
disappeared during the religious changes of the 16th Century.
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