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The date and arrangement of Bangor Cathedral east window

The subject of this post is the east window made by David Evans that was removed at the time of Gilbert Scott’s restoration of the cathedral. This important work by the artist is dated 1838 in the Pevsner for Gwynedd, a date which I followed when illustrating one of the panels, now in the west window of the nave, in chapter three of Stained Glass from Welsh Churches.

I am contributing to a series of talks relating to the ‘Cult of Saints in Wales’ project in Bangor this Saturday, and have been looking up some newspaper references to windows installed in the cathedral. The east window was paid for from contributions given when the vicar, Revd J.H. Cotton, was appointed Dean of Bangor, but the design for the window by David Evans was only agreed in November 1838, suggesting a completion date more likely to be 1839 than 1838, which was in fact the date given by Mostyn Lewis in his Stained Glass in North Wales up to 1850 (Altrincham, 1970). However, a report on the finished window did not appear in the North Wales Chronicle until 30 June 1840, stating that the window was completed during the previous week. This report gives a good description of the window, but only describes six figures: David and Solomon, with the four evangelists, although there are now nine figures in the three windows that contain glass from the old east window (one on the west window, and one towards the west end of the north and south aisles).

stained glass window depicting standing figure of Aaron.

David Evans, Aaron, 1843, Bangor Cathedral

In the report on the agreement of the design in November 1838, it was regretted that the amount raised did not allow for the whole five-light window to be filled with figures (as originally proposed in October 1838), and with the outer lights being filled with decorative glass, the cost was expected to be £200. It was not until 1843 that four further figures were added and the window completed, the North Wales Chronicle states, ‘through the munificence of our Bishop’. The four additional figures were two from the Old Testament, Aaron and Moses, and the saints Peter and Paul. We can therefore assume that these were placed in the outer lights, most likely with the Old Testament figures on the left.

The window was removed when the chancel was restored and George Gilbert Scott introduced a window by Clayton & Bell as the east window in 1873, which remains in place today with ten main compartments, now filled with scenes from the Life of Christ. It does not appear that the figures by David Evans were reset in their present positions until 1880, and when they were, there was only space for nine of the ten figures. Solomon, who was crowned and held a sceptre in his right hand, and a ground plan of the temple in his left, was presumably lost to the cathedral in the process.

In summary, for Aaron, 1838, read 1843!

My talk on the saints in stained glass and in sculpture in Bangor Cathedral will be on Saturday 12 September, the last of four talks relating to the ‘Cult of Saints in Wales‘ project.

Corrections and clarifications

Right up until the point at which I sent the PDF files to be printed last April, I was still finding a few little mistakes in the text. This was accompanied by the sad realisation that there would be more errors that I might have missed: spelling, dates, punctuation, less than perfect image quality.

The day after I received my first copy from the press I spotted a mistake, and so it began. As well as this, new information comes to light, or to my attention anyway, rendering information in the book to be wrong.

Rather than pretending these things aren’t there, I have prepared a list of corrections, which can be downloaded from the link below. I will try to keep the list updated as new things turn up. In some cases these are things that have kindly been pointed out to me, speculatively sent ‘for a future edition’. Without going into details about the way that the printing costs were met (another time perhaps), I cannot imagine that there will be enough demand to justify the cost of putting the book on the press again. Hence the value of the following document (which should download when you click on it):

Stained Glass from Welsh Churches Corrections

In many cases the windows are listed and illustrated on the online Stained Glass in Wales Catalogue. Where this is the case I would encourage anyone who has additional information or corrections on windows to send comments via the comments facility there (about half way down the pages). There are, however, windows in the book that are not on the catalogue, through lack of time on my part, so this is not possible in all cases (something else I should expand on another occasion).

Alternatively please contact me directly by email with any mistakes in the book that you find. You will find a contact email address on my website. I am very grateful to all of those who have taken the trouble to point out mistakes in the text.