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Timsbury Glass Survives Fire

Posted By ltempest On April 16, 2014 @ 8:59 am In Issue 79,News | Comments Disabled

Important early fifteenth-century glass at the parish church of St Andrew in Timsbury (Hampshire) has survived a terrifying fire that destroyed parts of the ancient roof and bell tower and severely damaged a modern window at the west end made in 1999 by Andrew Taylor FBSMGP (Figs 1–3).

Fig. 1. Timsbury Church before the fire. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 1. Timsbury Church before the fire. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 2. Timsbury Church during the fire. By permission of Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Fig. 2. Timsbury Church during the fire. By permission of Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Fig. 3. Timsbury Church: damaged window by Andrew Taylor at west end. By permission of Gary Seymour RIBA

Fig. 3. Timsbury Church: damaged window by Andrew Taylor at west end. By permission of Gary Seymour RIBA

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The fire was reported at 7.27am on Sunday 9 March. Six fire crews belonging to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene and quickly put in a fire-break while tackling the fire directly by removing tiles from the roof. Firefighters used four breathing apparatus, three jets and hose reels to put the fire out. Preliminary findings suggest that the blaze was caused by an electrical fault. The church architect, Gary Seymour RIBA, has said it could take up to a year before the church is operational again.

Fig. 4. Timsbury Church: window with canopy shaft and head plus assorted fragments. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 4. Timsbury Church: window with canopy shaft and head plus assorted fragments. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 5. Detail of fig. 4. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 5. Detail of fig. 4. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 6. Canopy head. © Roger Rosewell

Fig. 6. Canopy head. © Roger Rosewell

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The medieval glass is arranged in several windows at the eastern end of the church and consists of canopy side-shafts and tops and other assorted fragments, including the blackletter inscriptions ‘Orate p(ro)’ and ‘mag(i)st(r)o’ (Figs 4–6). In 1925, the stained glass historian, John Dolbel Le Couteur (1883–1925) noted similarities between the Timsbury windows and others of a similar date installed in Winchester College and Cathedral. The medieval glass at Winchester College can be attributed to the glass-painting workshop of Thomas of Oxford (d. in or before 1427) with certainty, and Le Couteur suggested that the Timsbury glass could also be his. Anya Heilpern, who is currently researching the glass at Winchester Cathedral, confirms similarities between some of the Timsbury fragments and some of the cathedral glass which may be by the Thomas of Oxford workshop. However, especially in the absence of any figural glass at Timsbury, attribution of this particular glazing scheme to Thomas himself must remain speculative. Modern scholars recognize the need for further detailed research on Thomas of Oxford and those who worked with him, and evidence about Timsbury may emerge during these studies.

Notes

J. D. Le Couteur, ‘Ancient glass in Timsbury church’, Journal of Stained Glass, i/2, 36–37
J. H. Harvey and D. G. King, ‘Winchester College stained glass’, Archaeologia, 103 (1971), 149–77
R. Marks, Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, Toronto etc., 1993, 171–78
C. Woodforde, The Stained Glass of New College, Oxford, Oxford, 1951
T. Ayers, The Medieval Stained Glass of Merton College, Oxford, CVMA (GB), VI, Oxford, 2013, part 2, pp. 274–82

Thanks

Vidimus is grateful to Roger Harris (a local parishioner), Anya Heilpern, Julie Jacobs ACIM of Hampshire Fire and Rescue, and Gary Seymour RIBA of Seymour & Bainbridge Architects Ltd. for their help with this article.


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