The West Window

Return now to the nave and look first at the great west window. This splendid window of twelve lights is not Bentley’s work, it was installed in 1904, after Bentley’s death, by Burlington and Grylls, hut in its colouring, style and tracery it is in keeping with Bentley’s vision of Holy Rood. The subject matter is entirely Old Testament, the richly coloured figures being set into a delicately tinted pattern of vine leaves and grapes. Red, blue, green and gold are the dominating colours and each of the twelve lights carries at the top two blazing golden stars.

The window is divided into two sections of six lights, three upper and three lower lights divided by a heavy transom. The upper lights have the same width as the lower, but have twice the height. The upper three on the left show Joseph being sold by his brothers to the Ishmaelite traders beneath an orange tree. The lower part of the central upper light depicts the Lamb of God and two angels. The corresponding three lights on the right show Moses and the serpent of bronze, with two angels and a pelican in the lower part of the central light. From left to right the lower six lights represent: Melchizedech blessing Abraham after the Battle of the Four Kings; the Sacrifice of Abel; Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar; Joab killing Abner; Aaron sacrificing the goat for the sins of Israel; and Isaac carrying the wood and fire for Abraham’s sacrifice.

Looking from the west end of the nave eastwards towards the sanctuary the eye is caught by the electric light pendants. Specially designed for Holy Rood and installed in 1899, they are of flat gilt-bronze, shaped and fret-worked in Art Nouveau style, each carrying five suspended lamps with bronze bell-flower shades. These striking features have a significance greater than that of being simply a source of illumination, and appear to be a considered element of the decorative scheme. There is a symbolism in the way they reach down into the nave in two golden lanes, seeming to extend the richness of the sanctuary into the plainer body of the church and forming a link between chancel and nave which counters the divisiveness of the rood-loft.