Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ruthwell Parish Church

In the apse built to take the cross at Ruthwell church there are three windows which each contain a saint local to the Northumbrian region made by Percy Bacon Brothers in London, This one is St Hilda.

In 657 Hilda became the founding  Abbess at Whitby Abbey. Here you can see her holding a model of the abbey, as is often seen in pictures of founding and patron saints of churches. As far as I can see, such representations usually appear in the church that is pictured, but in this case, Whitby Abbey has been in ruin for hundreds of years. By comparing the windows in the model with this picture of the ruins, you can see it is the same building. It is of some interest that it was Whitby Abbey's ruins that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

Another appearance by St Cuthbert, briefly Bishop of Lindisfarne.

The third window is of St Aiden, who was one of St Cuthbert's predecessors and said to have inspired him. St Aiden was the first Bishop of Lindisfarne. It is interesting to note that for a brief period in the 7th century all three of these people in the windows would have been alive at the same time.

These windows seem a little bit long for the frames and the glass continues behind the frame a little. Perhaps this is not uncommon and I only saw it because I could get particularly close to the windows.

The St Aiden window is dedicated to the Reverend James McFarlan (St Cuthbert to his wife and no name is mentioned on St Hilda). It was he that was minister of the church in 1887 when the Apse was built and cross brought inside. Residents of nearby Clarencefield may also recognise the name as the local village hall bears it.

There is a window made by Gordon Webster  in 1958 - he was mentioned a few blogs ago for his windows in Dunblane cathedral and I have seen his windows in other places to which will appear here in due course.

The plainer windows in the church are all edged in orange and  yellow - most appealing.


  1. What a breathtakingly beautiful church!

    1. It certainly is. It's also very peaceful. You just help yourself to the key from the manse and let yourself in so the chances of having it to yourself are very high.

  2. The detail in these windows is amazing, St Hilda is so beautiful...true works of art, and great photos as always, thanks for sharing :)

    1. It amazes me the quality of windows even some of the little churches in the country have. St Hilda is particularly gorgeous amongst the windows at Ruthwell.