Holy Trinity was built from 1836 to 1838 by the architect H.E. Goodridge. It was built in an area “chiefly occupied by the homes of the operatives (weavers)” at a cost of £ 2310, and is built the wrong way round, facing west (northwest), not the customary east. It has a unique collection of 9 windows designed by pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris & Co over a period of about 40 years.
The 5 windows on the left as you enter represent each of the gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and Jesus the Good Shepherd.
The west window contains 3 lights, St Paul, St John the Baptist, and St Catherine. The window is lighter in effect because the background is not filled in but consists of circular ‘quarries’, enabling a good deal of light to enter the church.
A full ‘gallery’ of pictures will eventually be available, so please check back later.
The Good Shepherd being projected by late afternoon sun onto the floor.May 2016
ADDENDUM June 2016 for Frome Festival:
The Burne-Jones Windows.
- There are 12 Burne-Jones windows, made by William Morris&Co. The ‘east end’ window is made by a local firm of glaziers (Mells), Horwood Brothers, and was installed in 1875 in memory of Alfred Daniel, the first vicar of Holy Trinity.
- The windows down the sides of the church and above the entrance are all Burne-Jones windows. They span the whole artistic career of Edward Burne-Jones, a Victorian artist, and were made by William Morris, a life-long friend and artistic collaborator of Burne-Jones. They met whilst students at Oxford.
- Burne-Jones would draw the designs, known as cartoons, and William Morris would choose the colouring and select the glass. Morris also designed the intricate foliage backgrounds – it is different on each window.
- The first window, St John (front left side, near the office), was commissioned in 1880, cost £46! This began a tradition in Trinity Church for members to commission Burne-Jones windows from William Morris & Co over a period of 40 years.
- The stained glass in Trinity is the most significant scheme in SW England carried out by William Morris&Co.
William Morris (1834-1896)
- Regarded as the most important figure in British textile design.
- He had a growing sympathy for the poor (hence interest in SW Frome weavers) and devoted himself to the socialist cause.
- Given his desire to protect the environment from the ravages of pollution, Morris is seen as the forerunner of modern environmentalism. (Frome was awarded Green Town status in 2015 and Holy Trinity church promotes environmental awareness in services, magazines and bulletins and many social activities.)
- His ethos was ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.
Edmund Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
- Born in Birmingham, mother died when he was 7 days old. Studied Theology at Oxford and was heavily influenced by Holman Hunt and Rossetti, founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement founded in 1848.
- PR = Art is essentially spiritual in character; devoted to nature; emphasised brilliance of colour; fixed on portraying things with near photographic precision, hence criticised by post WW1 ‘Modernists’ as repressive. Major revival in 1960’s.
- Was the prime mover in the rejuvenation of stained glass art in Britain in the 19th century.
- In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press‘s Chaucer in 1896.
- One of his nephews was PM Stanley Baldwin. At the opening of the centenary exhibition of Burne-Jones at the London Tate Gallery in 1933, Baldwin stated: ‘What Burne-Jones did for us common people was to open, as never has been opened before, magic insights into an inner world we can cherish in peace; a beauty which he has left us in which there is peace for ourselves. His work will be for ever for those who seek in their generation for beauty and for those who recognise a great artist.’ This project serves this purpose.
Why stained glass windows?
- Stained glass windows are not just art they also tell a story. In churches they are like visual theology, stimulating the imagination and painting truth in vibrant, living colours. In earlier days when fewer people could read, they were a powerful aid to spiritual understanding. They remain so today.
- Exodus 31:1-4. ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.