… We are on the vacation, proper, and the Silver-Bullet is heading this way and that along the ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads of North Yorkshire. There are draw-backs to not having a properly conceived plan. I pick up the road map in an attempt to put some direction back into proceedings and that is when we ‘find’ Thornton-Le-Dale…
Wen sees the Congress-Stone first off, and then we skirt past the ‘Churched-Hillock’ which more or less clinches it, although, we are both conscious, I think, that today should be a landscape day. Churches like this… they simply demand exploration…
…The Simeon window stands brazen as you like proclaiming its message to the world in the chancel of All Saints, Thornton-le-Dale.
It is a fine window. It is beautifully realised and the colour scheme is exquisite. The green and the blue of the two figures alternate from high to low between the robes and the halos. Ostensibly the window shows, The Virgin, in the left light as we look at it, with the temple offering of two turtle doves, in a wooden cage. But already I am beginning to get excited, because what the artist has actually depicted are two white doves. A temple offering of two white doves. They are not turtle doves at all. And they are certainly not pigeons, although if the artist responsible wanted a let-out he could possibly argue that they are, in fact, white pigeons. Very clever, Mr Holiday, always cover your back. Now, why do you suppose he would do that? The other exciting thing about the left light is that the Virgin depicted there is, well, shall we say, ‘a lady of a certain age?’ She is certainly not a woman, or young girl of the age that the Virgin is purported to be at this time. It has to be the Virgin though because the right light as we look at it depicts Simeon, the High Priest who received the ‘Christ-Child’ before giving up the Ghost…in perfect peace.
Oh, Mr Holiday…your window is rapidly advancing to the head of the leading group of all time genius windows!
The coup-de-grace of this particular window, though, is the central roundel which spans the two lights. In the central roundel is a floating head with the moniker, ‘JOHN’, beneath it.
My subconscious gets there first and it is all I can do to prevent myself sinking to my knees. I manage to stifle a sob whilst my mind races with the possibilities and enormities of what I am looking at. I glance over my shoulder to where Wen has taken up position at the lectern and is reading the passage from St. Luke which purportedly relates to the Window. I am right then, it is Luke and not John. My knees are about to start buckling again, so I take one last lingering look at the window and head back into the navel, more to collect my thoughts than anything else…
Excerpt from, ‘Heart of Albion’ – Stuart France and Sue Vincent.
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