Stained Glass from Welsh Churches

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St David by Heaton, Butler & Bayne

stained glass window depicting Padarn.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St Padarn, about 1930, Church of St Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr

On Saturday 1 April the ‘Cult of Saints in Wales’ project collaborated on an afternoon of talks about St Padarn and the saints of Wales at the Church of St Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr. My short talk focussed on three south transept windows of the 1930s by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, which depicted the saints Padarn, Teilo and David.

According to the Lives of all of these three saints, they journeyed to the Holy Land together, where they were met, and given gifts, by the patriarch of Jerusalem. As we were specifically remembering Padarn in the church that bears his name, I showed some more images of Padarn in other churches, but also took the opportunity to show windows of other saints by the studio of Heaton, Butler and Bayne.

When looking through my archive, I found a series of images of David, patron saint of Wales, made by the firm from the late 1880s up until the one at Llanbadarn Fawr of about 1930. What is interesting about all of these figures is that even though they use more or less the same kind of figure, none that I have seen are repeats of another, using the same cartoon. This use of the same cartoon for multiple windows is of course well-known among all stained glass studios, from Hardman’s to Morris & Co. to Celtic Studios and even some of the finest individual artists in the medium, such as Christopher Whall and Karl Parsons reused designs and cartoons. Note the range of unusual headgear provided for the saint, not a mitre in sight!

stained glass window depicting David.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St David, about 1888, Church of St Gwynan, Dwygyfylchi

stained glass window depicting David.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St David, about 1890, Church of St Catwg, Gelligaer

stained glass window depicting David.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St David, 1898, Church of St Brynach, Pontfaen

stained glass window depicting David.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St David, 1917, Church of St Beuno, Whitford

stained glass window depicting David.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, St David, about 1930, Church of St Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr

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Annunciation x 3

It’s well understood that stained glass studios produced multiple versions of their windows, making use of their designs and cartoons at different churches. However, it seemed a bit excessive to discover the same design three times over the period of two days in the south Wales valleys this week.

These designs by Robert Newbery, ever-present in this part of Wales, are at churches in Gelligaer, Treharris and Pontypridd. Treharris is about three miles east of Gelligaer and five miles north of Pontypridd. In my introduction for Stained Glass from Welsh Churches I estimated that there were over a hundred windows by this London maker in south Wales. Having continued to visit further churches, including a handful this week, I have discovered more that have not been listed previously, confirming that this is quite a conservative estimate.

The dates on the three windows suggest a range of about thirty years, corresponding with his activity in Wales. The earliest date for the window at Gelligaer would be 1895, which would make it the earliest known window by Newbery.

stained glass window of the Annunciation to Mary.

Robert Newbery, The Annunciation, c.1900, Church of St Cattwg, Gelligaer, south wall

stained glass window of the Annunciation to Mary.

Robert Newbery, The Annunciation, c.1929, Church of St Mathias, Treharris, north chapel

stained glass window of the Annunciation to Mary.

Robert Newbery, The Annunciation, c.1929, Church of St Mathias, Treharris, north chapel