A window onto John Bunyan

Until a few days ago, I wasn’t aware that the St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, in central Cambridge (GB), held a fine set of Bunyan stained-glass windows just behind the pulpit and the organ. I’m very grateful to Dr Paul Scott for bringing them to my attention.

St Andrew's St Window

These windows are much less well-known than the examples at Bunyan Meeting, Bedford, or in Westminster Abbey (by Sir John Ninian Comper), but they belong with a surprisingly large group of 19th- and 20th-century windows around the world. The ones that have come to my notice include : Elstow Abbey Church and Bunyan Memorial Hall, Harlington Church (Bedfordshire), the Geneva McCartney Library (Pennsylvania, by Henry Lee Willett), Chigwell School (Essex, by Reginald Hallward), Tyndale Baptist Church (Bristol, by Arnold Wathen Robinson), Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston (by Frederic Crowninshield) and Allegheny Cemetery Mausoleum (Pittsburgh).

The St Andrew’s window in Cambridge is a First World War memorial, depicting in the lower panel Valiant-for-Truth, Christian losing his burden at the Cross and Faithful’s martyrdom, representing ‘Truth’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Self Sacrifice’ respectively. The upper panel has four musician angels (including one with a guitar!) on both sides of the celestial city. If you happen to be in Cambridge, this is well worth a detour. The Church is located on St Andrew’s Street, the present building, in flint, dating from 1903, http://www.stasbaptist.org/

The examples above are taken at random from those that I have encountered. Does anybody know if there is a reliable inventory of Bunyan or Bunyan-inspired windows? It would be good to hear about the artists, the scenes most often depicted and the context in which they are used, including cemeteries and educational institutions as well as churches.

Something to ponder over the Christmas season!

Anne Page

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