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The Inspiring Story and Art Behind England's Stained Glass Masterpieces

Author: Simply Stained GlassTime: 2024-01-06 10:15:01

Table of Contents

Introduction to Dale Devere Stained Glass Windows

Dale Devere is the name of an English stained glass studio that was founded in 1955 and produced beautiful, modern stained glass for churches and cathedrals around the UK. One of their most prolific and talented artists was Henry Haig, who created stunning and spiritually meaningful windows full of symbolism and artistry.

Haig's windows for Dale Devere stand out for their craftsmanship and ability to inspire religious contemplation. His use of vivid colors, abstract shapes, and textual symbols give viewers a lot to reflect on.

Henry Haig and His Unique Cathedral Windows

Henry Haig made windows for 28 different churches and cathedrals across England in his time working with Dale Devere. His windows are treasured for the way they flood interiors with color and capture the imagination. Haig had a knack for using abstraction and geometry to create spiritually evocative designs. He worked in a mid-century modernist aesthetic, using strong colors, clean lines, and negative space to suggest deeper meanings.

The Cultural Significance of Stained Glass in Churches

Stained glass windows have been an integral part of church architecture for nearly a thousand years. They originally served the purpose of illustrating biblical stories for largely illiterate medieval populations. Over time they evolved into a revered art form that could inspire prayer and convey theological ideas. Modern artists like Henry Haig carried this tradition forward with their own creative interpretations.

How a Salvaged Window Transformed a Surrey Parish

One unique story of a Henry Haig Dale Devere window finding renewed purpose comes from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Thames Ditton, Surrey. After another church containing Dale Devere windows was set to be demolished, Our Lady of Lourdes purchased one of the windows to install in their own space.

This simple act of salvaging the art glass has had a transformative effect on the parish community, fostering new connections and spiritual growth.

Giving the Church Roadside Visibility and Pilgrimage Symbolism

The new Dale Devere window, appraised at over £180,000, makes Our Lady of Lourdes newly visible from the busy road it sits on. Father Rob Esdaile shares that this has given the church ???roadside presence' and connects the parish visually to the idea of pilgrimage. The vivid colors and striking design now draw more attention to the church and suggest deeper spiritual meaning to passersby. Instead of blending into the background, the building now invites closer inspection.

Inspiring Parishioners to Discover Meanings in the Glass

Longtime parishioner Joe Wales tells how the new art glass has encouraged church members to appreciate the original Dale Devere window as well. It has prompted them to ???look deeper' into the meanings and details of all their stained glass. There are also plans to have the windows be starting points for guided meditations that explore the stories and symbols in the glass. This will foster more intimate connections between the parish and their church environment.

Conclusion: Fostering Community Connections Through Inspiring Art

The experiences of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church provide a case study for how public art, even when salvaged and repurposed, can nourish community ties. The Dale Devere stained glass windows have become conversation starters, points of inspiration, and sources of meaning for the entire congregation.

Beyond the aesthetic enhancement, the windows convey themes and stories that unite people across generations. They provide spiritual enrichment and a shared sense of heritage rooted in the church’s physical space.


Q: Who was Henry Haig and what makes his windows special?
A: Henry Haig was one of 28 artists who created Dale Devere stained glass windows, known for their outstanding ecclesiastical art. His windows at the Bristol Cathedral are considered his only known elderly windows and masterpieces.

Q: What is significant about the cultural value of stained glass?
A: Most stained glass windows were used in Anglican and Catholic churches and cathedrals built after 1955. They hold not only artistic but spiritual meaning for parishioners.

Q: How did the new salvaged window impact Our Lady of Lourdes church?
A: The new salvaged Dale Devere window gave the Surrey church more visibility from the road and pilgrimage symbolism. It also inspired parishioners to appreciate the art and symbolism in their existing Dale Devere windows.