STAINED GLASS IN DUNS TEW
The windows in the church date from the Victorian restoration by George Gilbert Scott in 1861 to 1862. Many of the original window frames were re-used, such as the perpendicular East window.
The East window has three panels:
~ the Resurrection (left),
~ the Crucifixion (centre)
~ the Ascension (right)
The inscription over the cross in the centre, INRI, stands for
"Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum"
"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"
The central Crucifixion panel shows the now familiar image of Jesus, bearded and in his early thirties, which derives from an apocryphal description that was supposedly sent to the Roman senate by Publius Lentulus, Proconsul of Judaea, after a meeting with Jesus.
Lentulus described Jesus as having hair that was straight from his crown to his ears before descending in curls to his shoulders and then down his back, where it was divided into two portions. He said that Jesus had an abundant forked beard, and that his hair was the colour of wine. This description circulated among the early Christians.
The beard may also have developed as a wish to symbolize ugliness. There was some debate in early church as to whether Jesus was the most handsome or most ugly of men.
One view is that God is supremely beautiful, and so Jesus was very good looking. The opposing view was that Jesus took on human misery when he became man and so was ugly. This is backed by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53, 2-4):
‘He had nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others … surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases.’
Two figures are shown at the foot of the cross. Bible accounts indicate that St John, Mary Magdalene & Mary mother of Jesus were at the cross. We do not know which Mary is depicted here.
Jesus’ head is tilted to the right or ‘good’ side.
In the left hand panel Jesus is holding the ‘banner’ of the Resurrection, but we do not know who the other people are.
The Ascension is depicted in the right hand panel. Look out for the footprints which are masked by the vestry wall.
The colours used are symbolic:
Blue is traditionally associated with Virgin Mary & Jesus and represents heavenly love.
Brown, seen in the simple dress of Franciscans in imitation of poor peasant dress, represents a renunciation of the world.
Green is the colour of life, especially life over death.
Gold and white are the colours of light, purity and innocence - the risen Christ is usually shown dressed in white or silver.
Red is the colour of passion and can mean hate or love - Mary Magdalene is often shown in red.
The East window is the only pictorial window in the church; the rest of the windows are clear with coloured edging and subtle patterns. Each window is different.
Both GRISAILLE (delicate geometric or leaf patterns of regular design on, or leaded into, white glass) and RINCEAU (a foliage design usually used as a background) are used.
SAVE OUR ANGELS!
In 2020/21 a fund raising campaign was launched to restore some of the stained glass. Thanks to our generous donors, including the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, we raised the final amount needed to clean and refurbish all the stained glass windows in the church. The cleaning team from Holy Well Glass did a great job - with one person on the windowsill inside pointing out the dirt to the person outside! As at August 2021 the PCC was eagerly awaiting the painted backplates to give detail to the faces of two angels and St John, and the new stainless-steel window guard which will complete the planned works to the windows.