THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OF HOLY TRINITY
1O THE DOVE WINDOW
POSITION Over the North Transept
MAKERS Caroline Townshend and Joan Howson
DONOR Mrs. Coxhead (daughter of Col. and Mrs. Dove)
IN MEM. Col. H. and Mrs. Dove
FOR some, this wonderful example of the Arts and Crafts movement is the jewel in Holy Trinity’s crown. Originally plain glass and reaching to within six feet of the ground, and known as “the Lomas window”, it was shortened to its present size when the transepts were pushed out during the first alterations to Holy Trinity Chapel. The present window was designed and made by two gifted and unusual women – feminists, Suffragettes and Fabians – who, according to the then Vicar, the Revd. Malcolm Parr, “have placed windows in various cathedrals, and are now engaged on the well-known glass in New College, Oxford.” Their work was “excellent; you could not have better” wrote an expert consulted by Mr. Parr.
Based on themes from the Revelation of St. John the Divine, the dominating feature of this impressive window is the Rider on a white horse – Peace Triumphant. The horse is trampling the Dragon of Evil underfoot, and the Rider’s banner reads: “Faithful and True”. He is encircled by the River of Life, and around that are seven trumpeting angels, representing the Seven Cities, heralding the City of Light. Behind them, to left and right, is the Tree of Life bearing the twelve fruits of the twelve months. Above all this is the Rainbow of Promise, seen here upside down and cradling the New Jerusalem, which is surrounded by a wall with twelve gates. Each is the colour of the precious stone of which it was made.
Along the bottom of the window are the four emblems of the Gospellers: from left to right, the winged lion of St. Mark, the winged bull of St. Luke, the eagle of St. John and the angel of St. Matthew.
Under the Rider is the dedication: “To remember / Colonel Horatio Dove, died 1925, / and Mabel his wife, died 1933”.
Under this is that most stirring sentence from the Revelation: “THERE / SHALL / BE NO / NIGHT / THERE”.
Research into the origins of the window has thrown up some interesting facts. Caroline Townshend
(1878-1944) and Joan Howson (1885-1964) were part of a “pioneer group of stained glass
artists”, according to one authority, working in London in the early years of the twentieth century.
One of their best-known windows is that depicting famous women in the Church of All Saints,
High Wycombe, placed there in 1932. This window is also known as “The Dove Window”, and its
donor was Dame Frances Jane Dove, DBE, JP (1847-1942), a noted campaigner for women’s rights,
and the founder of Wycombe Abbey and other girls’ schools. She was a sister of Holy Trinity’s
Col. Dove, and it is tempting to imagine that she advised her niece, Mrs. Coxhead, to employ
Townshend and Howson to design and make the window for her parents.
for full size
Footnote: Mrs. Mabel Dove worshipped at Holy Trinity for 30 years or so, and there is an interesting tribute to her in the Parish Magazine for October 1936: “Mrs. Dove possessed a strongly marked personality and a generous heart, which she was often at pains to conceal.” Altogether a “strongly marked” family, it seems.
The Revd. Christopher Wilson has kindly given permission for us to print his poem inspired by this window. You will find it at the end of this booklet.
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