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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Review of the year

Dear Members,

This is my third and last Christmas message and, like all past Presidents before me, I hardly know where the time went.

The year has been even busier than usual for the committee members. At long last, we have delivered one of our early promises : to make it possible to join the IJBS, and renew our subscriptions online, with Paypal or credit card. I would especially like to thank our General Secretary, Bob Owens, who has liaised for months with the banks, our treasurers, and an IT developer to secure the website and install the payment buttons. This should make it easier for our membership to grow.

BunyanXmas

A few months ago, we welcomed our 100th member. It’s a real pleasure to witness the steady growth of our Society, but at the same time this makes it difficult for us to operate along the lines we have known in the past and to make sure all our members are regularly appraised of new developments.

We have therefore taken the opportunity to have the website professionally redesigned, so that you can find information more easily. The front page is now static and the announcements have been moved to a dedicated section, so please don’t forget to check it regularly. We have grouped the ‘Resources and publications’ together, which is where you can now find The Recorder (the most recent issue, edited by Nathalie Collé, is now available also to non-members), as well as Bunyan Studies and the Bunyan bibliography that David Parry updates on a regular basis. We have created a new page for members’ publications. If you have recent books or articles out, related to Bunyan or early modern Nonconformity, please let us know. Our Vice President, David Gay, has also created a Facebook page that you can Like from the website.

On the academic front, we had an excellent study day last April in Bedford, which you can read about here. Bedford is of course an appropriate place to launch what we hope will become a regular series, alternating between Bedford and Newcastle, thanks to Bob Owens and David Walker.

Most of the year has been dedicated to preparing our triennial conference next July in Aix-en-Provence, and we were able to release the prelimary programme a month ago. Registration will open in February or March and all the details will be posted on the conference page on the website. As you know, ten doctoral students and early career researchers will be able to come to Aix to present their work, thanks to an anonymous benefaction that we received last year. The IJBS has also offered them free membership for a year, so we are delighted to welcome them.

Neil Keeble, and the members of the Greaves committee, Ann Hughes and Cynthia Wall, have been very busy, given the many publications in our field, and the shortlist of books selected for the Greaves Prize will be made known in the new year. The winner will be announced in Aix.

Finally, the next Bunyan Studies will be out very soon, and you can expect yet another wonderful issue.

As usual, many thanks to our committee, Nathalie, David G., Galen, Bob and David W., for all their hard work on behalf of our Society, and for their commitment and dedication to our author.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year and hope to see you in the summer in Provence for a beaker full of the warm South!

Anne Page, Aix-Marseille Université

IJBS on Facebook

The IJBS has now a public Facebook page that you will find at: https://www.facebook.com/johnbunyansociety

This page will enhance public awareness of the Society. You can Like it and promote it in anyway you think fit.

In parallel, our Facebook group is still running; we now have over 70 members from all parts of the world. Should you want to become a member of the group, please contact our Vice President, David Gay, dgay@ualberta.ca.

 

 

 

Cromwell’s Religion: A Study Day, 3rd October 2015

Religious division was one of the key factors that dominated the 17th century and the driving force behind Oliver Cromwell’s extraordinary ascent to his role as Lord Protector. The subject is huge and has many different aspects – and the potential to be a subject worthy of a life-times study.

The Cromwell Association exists to further study of Cromwell and to promote a wider understanding of ‘God’s Englishman’ and his legacy. It is an educational charity and publishes an annual journal as well as promoting events and activities that further the overall aims.

The Association, in partnership with the Dissenting Experience Project, has organised a study day to look at different aspects of Cromwell’s religion. The programme, aimed at a non-academic audience, will comprise four papers by specialists in the field. They range from an examination of Cromwell’s relationship with the Presbyterians to the role of Quakers in the Protectorate. The day will be chaired by Professor John Morrill.

The study day is open to all and will take place at The City Temple, Holborn Viaduct, London, on Saturday 3rd October. The fee for the day, including a light buffet lunch, is £45.00.

For further details, and on-line booking, see www.olivercromwell.org/whats_new.htm

  • The full programme for the day is available on-line at the link above
  • The Association organises an annual study day, recent previous subjects have been Cromwell and the Army, Cromwell’s early life, Richard Cromwell. Papers are normally published in the annual journal Cromwelliana. Sample copies available on request.
  • The Association was established in 1937. It also organises an annual service of commemoration by the statue of Cromwell at Westminster on 3rd September, the anniversary of Cromwell’s death.
  • Images available on request
  • For further details of the event and, or, the Association, please contact John Goldsmith, jrgoldsmith@talktalk.net

IJBS Regional Day Conference, Bedford

Over forty people attended a highly successful Regional Day Conference of the International John Bunyan Society held on 10 April 2015 in the new Gateway building at the Bedford Campus of the University of Bedfordshire.

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The subject of the conference was ‘Representing Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century’, and it was organised by Professor Bob Owens (University of Bedfordshire) in collaboration with Professor David Walker (Northumbria University). Speakers included (in the order in which they spoke): Professor Anne Dunan-Page (Aix-Marseille Université), Jenna Townend (PhD student, Loughborough University), Ed Legon (PhD student, University College London), Professor David Walker (Northumbria University), Dr Alan Argent (Dr Williams’s Library), Dr Nicholas Seager (Keele University), Professor Jeffrey Hopes (Université d’Orleans), and Dr Tessa Whitehouse (Queen Mary University of London). Among the audience were academics from over a dozen universities in the UK and France, together with students and members of the public from the local area.

IJBS BED CONF 3 IMGP0809 wroThis event was the first in what David and Bob hope will become a regular series of Regional Day Conferences, to be held alternately in Bedford and Newcastle. As Bob remarked in his introduction, it was appropriate that the inaugural conference should be held in Bedford, since it is the Mecca for all scholars of Bunyan and the Dissenting tradition! The theme of the conference was how Dissenters in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries represented themselves and were represented by others during a long period in which they suffered oppression and discrimination because of their refusal to accept that the state had the right to dictate how and where they should worship God.

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Protestant Dissenters were of course a small minority in English society, making up less than ten per cent of the population. They were eventually granted a measure of religious liberty under the Toleration Act of 1689, but it was not until well into the nineteenth century that they were granted equal rights with members of the Church of England in civil matters.

IJBS BED CONF 7 IMGP7860 wroTopics discussed by speakers included how Dissenting congregations kept ‘church books’ where they recorded details of the life and activities of the community; the ways in which Dissenters attempted to defend themselves against accusations of ‘disloyalty’ to the state, given their participation in the upheavals of the English Revolution; how, following the granting of toleration they began to establish organisations and libraries to support the work of Dissenting ministers; how leading Dissenters like Daniel Defoe took part in public debates on matters of national political concern and sought to influence opinion; and how Dissenting women used poetry and other forms of writing as a means of self-representation.

IJBS BED CONF 1 IMGP0780 wroIt was evident from the enthusiasm of participants and the high level of discussion throughout the day that delegates found the papers lively, accessible and interesting. At a time when the rights and freedoms of different religious minorities are under threat in many countries, the topic of this conference could hardly have been more pressing or relevant.