Ross-on-Wye Civic Society

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Ross-on-Wye & District Civic Society newsletter Spring 2007 (number 92)
Article by Philip Anderson (Hon Sec)

Next time you go to Hereford do make time to visit the stunning stained glass windows recently installed in the Cathedral. They commemorate Thomas Traherne the 17th century Herefordshire priest, poet and spiritual writer.

Traherne was born in Hereford and between 1657 and 1674 was rector of Credenhill, 5 miles to the north-west. His visionary writings reflect the way he saw the divine made manifest in his local countryside and city. These were largely unpublished in his life time and it was only in the 20th century that his manuscripts were rediscovered and his work became celebrated.

There is a flourishing Traherne Association based in Hereford who were one of the donors of the new windows. [/p]

The stained glass artist is Tom Denny, who is based in Dorset, but has undertaken several commissions in this part of the country, including at Gloucester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey and Malvern Priory. Many feel that the windows at Hereford are the best of his local work. At first glance the four lights look like abstract designs in vivid reds and greens, but closer inspection reveals a multitude of creatures and scenes hidden within them. (The windows are at eye level and can be inspected at close quarters). So for instance one can see scenes of the Herefordshire countryside with the towers and spires of Hereford city in the distance. Another window suggests Christ on the cross and is inhabited by all sorts of birds, molluscs, flowers etc. In another a figure, perhaps Traherne himself, stands in wonder at the beauty of creation and in another a city crowded with inhabitants is revealed.

The windows are in the Audley Chapel, which is off the Lady Chapel at the far east end of the Cathedral. A visit to see them is highly recommended.

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