THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS AT ST.ALBAN’S, WICKERSLEY
The Window in the Tower depicts three British saints: St. Alban, the first known British Martyr, who died in 209 at the Roman City of Verulamium, modem St.Alban’s;, St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, who died in 680 and was a great light in the Northern Celtic Church; and St. Winifred, a learned Abbess from Holywell in Wales.
The Windows in the Nave were installed between 1885 and 1890. Further information about the craftsman responsible is given below.
The twelve windows of the Nave represent the twelve apostles. The lower windows give a representation of the apostles – with the names of each apostle in a band at ‘neck level’. The upper windows depict a scene from the apostle’s life. Listed clockwise from the font, these are as follow.
Thomas – shown holding a book. The upper window shows Thomas putting his hand in Jesus’ side, from Luke 24.
James son of Alphaeus (‘the less’) – shown holding a club, the reputed instrument of his martyrdom, depicted in the upper window.
Bartholomew – shown holding a flaying knife, the instrument of his martyrdom. The upper window depicted his call by Philip, from John 1, where he is called Nathanael.
Philip – the upper window contains a mistake, in showing the scene from Acts 8, where Philip the deacon (not the apostle) meets the Ethiopian eunuch, a rare depiction of a negro in stained glass.
Matthew – shown carrying pen and paper, referring to his authorship of the gospel of St.Matthew. The upper window shows his call by Jesus in Matthew 9.
Jude (Judas Thaddaeus) – shown carrying a spear. The upper window shows him writing the epistle of Jude.
Simon the Zealot – shown holding a saw. The upper window shows him about to be crucified. Both windows show elements of the way he is believed to have been martyred.
Matthias – shown holding a halberd, believed to have been used in his martyrdom. The upper window depicts his call as an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, described in Acts 1.
Peter – shown holding the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, from Matthew 16. The upper window depicts the scene in John 21, ‘feed my sheep’.
John – shown holding a chalice from which a snake emerges, a reference to a belief that he drank a poisoned drink and was not harmed. The upper window depicts him receiving the Revelation of John.
James – shown wearing a shell, the symbol of pilgrimage. The upper window depicts his martyrdom, described in Acts 12.
Andrew – shown holding a transverse cross, the instrument of his martyrdom. The upper window depicts his calling Peter to Jesus, described in John 1.
At the top of a window in the North side is a picture of Bishop Titcomb, the first Bishop of Rangoon in Burma from 1877 to 1881. He was a cousin of Dr.Yates, and his son was a famous painter W.H.Y. Titcomb.
On the South Wall at the top of one window is a picture of Queen Victoria – for her Jubilee in 1887.
The East Window is a copy of the original fifteenth century window. The design shows Christ on the Cross, with the Virgin Mary on one side and St.John on the other, and another woman, possibly Mary Magdalene, kneeling. The Latin inscription emerging from the mouth of the woman kneeling reads “Domine Miserere Mei” – “O Lord have mercy upon me”.
The East Window is flanked by two windows depicting the Te Deum, an early hymn of the Church. In the Chancel opposite the Organ is a window depicting St. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Musicians and Church Music.
Henry Mark Barnett
Rev.R.J.Draper, Rector 1982-2000.
The craftsman responsible for the nave windows, Henry Mark Barnett, came from a famous York family of stained glass artists. His grandfather, John Joseph Barnett (1786-1859) was one of the early pioneers in the revival of stained glass in the nineteenth century. His name appears in the glass of St. Michael’s Church, Spuriergate in York (1821) and he was responsible for windows in the Chapter House and Nave of York Minster, and many other places. He founded the firm ‘Barnett & Son’ and his son Francis (Henry’s uncle) moved this firm from York to Leith, where it flourished for many years. Henry’s father, Mark Barnett, worked in the family firm and in the famous stained-glass studio of Wailes in Newcastle. Henry was brought up to love stained-glass. It was the family business.
Barnett’s name can be found in two places in the Church. The first inscription is in the bottom left hand corner of the St. Thomas Window (beside the Font). In a small square of painted glass we find “H.M. Barnett, Newcastle.” The second inscription is in the East Window, at the bottom of the left hand side is written “H.M. Barnett”, and on the right-hand side, “Newcastle”.
The family were also Roman Catholics and John Joseph and his sons were in touch with some of the leading Catholic Architects of the time, such as J.A. Hansom (the founder of “The Builder” Journal) and his brother-in-law, Mr Maycock. These men erected many Catholic Churches and they naturally turned to the Barnetts to supply their stained glass. There was also a strong musical tradition in the family. John Joseph, Henry’s grandfather, was one of the first members of the York Philharmonic Society and Alfred, Henry’s uncle, was a skillful cello player.
Henry began his career in York working with a silversmith. He then moved to the School of Design in York, and his “apprenticeship” was completed by a period working with his father at the stained-glass studio of Wailes in Newcastle. This was one of the largest stained-glass works outside London, and a valuable training ground for young artists.
It seems that Henry launched out on his own around 1858. His first entry in the Newcastle Trade Directories is for 1858 where he is classed as a “glass stainer” of 17, Victoria Street. By 1861 he had expanded into a workshop at 12, Albert Terrace and this moved in 1874 to 7, Westmoreland Street where his firm was based until his death in 1888. So his career as a craftsman in Newcastle spans a period of more than thirty years and apart from one brief partnership (“Barnett & Snow” in 1865) he seems to have worked alone. From 1873 he called his workshop “The Victoria Stained Glass Works” and this is the name that can be found in our parish registers. He was sufficiently successful to obtain the patronage of the Duke of Newcastle and his output was considerable. His particular style is marked by very brightly coloured glass, as can be seen in St. Alban’s Church. He supplied stained glass windows for many Roman Catholic Churches in the North (following family tradition), for many churches in the Newcastle area and for many Anglican Churches. No comprehensive list of his work survives but examples of it can be found in the following churches St. Martin’s Firbeck, Ripon Cathedral, St. John Baildon, St. Mary Brilley (Hertfordshire), St. Romald Romaldkirk (North Yorkshire), Holy Trinity Startforth, (North Yorkshire), St. Nicholas West Tanfield (North Yorkshire), St. Michael Little Bedwyn (Wiltshire), St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Newcastle, Holy Trinity Ripon, St. Mary, Masham (North Yorkshire), Skarow Church, St. James Boroughbridge, St. Mary, Whicham (Cumberland), St. Patrick, Patrick Brompton (North Yorkshire), St. Cuthbert’s Blaydon on Tyne (Durham) – as well of course, as St.Alban’s Wickersley.
Mark Henry Barnett was not the most famous of the nineteenth century artists in stained glass. In fact in that great age of Stained Glass Artists he was a minor figure and so far no one has thought him important enough to document his life. But here in this Church we give thanks to God for him and for these Windows which we treasure. They are a constant source of interest, delight and inspiration.