William Morris and All Saints Dedworth
William Morris was an Essexman and one whose aspirations and achievements have had a profound effect far beyond his native county.
Morris was born at Walthamstow which was then a suburban village on the edge of Epping Forest. He was the son of prosperous middle class parents. When he was six the family moved to Woodford Hall, a large mansion with extensive grounds. His father died when Morris was thirteen but five years before that the two of them had visited Canterbury Cathedral. Later Morris recalled his impression that “the gates of Heaven had opened”. The family moved on to Water House in Walthamstow which has since become the William Morris Gallery.
It is clear that the early memories of his childhood had a particular significance for Morris and were always precious to him. In almost every aspect of his work, poetry and stories, designs for wallpaper, fabrics, tiles and furniture, stained glass, metal ware and jewellery, evidence can be found of the sights which so delighted him as he grew up in the Essex countryside.
In 1861 the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co was established. In addition to Morris himself, other distinguished artists and craftsmen such as Rosetti, Burne Jones and Madox Brown placed their talents at the firm’s disposal. Morris led by example and had untiring energy. His chief recreation seems to have been to indulge in a different kind of activity. Over 600 of his original designs have survived, their chief characteristics being an absolute mastery of pattern and skilful use of bright colours.
“The firm” supplied the stained glass windows for Bodley’s original building of All Saints, Dedworth. The windows were designed, made and installed in All Saints between 1863 and 1888.
Three stained glass panels, which originally formed the East window of the old church, have been installed in the Church foyer. The centrepiece is Rosetti’s Crucifixion with Burne Jones’ Nativity on the left and Morris’ Resurrection on the right. Also in the foyer are Burne Jones’ Annunciation between Burne Jones’ St Elizabeth and Madox Brown’s St Anne.
The remaining windows are installed on the North facing wall of the main church hall. All have an attractive background of clover and hawthorn. Six windows are mounted in the window next to the organ. St Gregory, and St George are by Burne Jones, and the window of St George is noteworthy for a spelling mistake – it is not known who was responsible. The other windows are Morris’ St Catherine, and Burne Jones’ Virgin and Child, St Nicholas and St Ursula. There are two other windows mounted in a vertical light box behind the Altar. Both are by Burne Jones’ - St Margaret and St John the Evangelist.
What Morris would have made of the present building is open to conjecture; one suspects he would probably not have approved. Surely, though, his heart would have been gladdened to see windows from “the firm” maintaining the link from his times to our own.
Details of the Stained Glass Windows
Left. The Nativity by Burne Jones
Centre. The Crucifixion by Rossetti
Right. The Resurrection by William Morris
These three windows were made in 1863 and originally installed in the
The Nativity shows Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus with Shepherds and
Angels. The emblems of St Matthew and St Mark are above. Burne Jones’
cartoon for the Nativity can be seen in the Birmingham City Art Gallery.
The Crucifixion is depicted with Mary the mother of Jesus on the left and
St John the Evangelist on the right of the cross with a flying Angel on each side.
The Sun and Moon emblems are above.
The Resurrection shows Jesus with his disciples and angels. The
emblems of St Luke and St John are above.
Documentation in the minute book dated December 1862 states – “Agreed
that Rossetti having drawing a cartoon of the ‘Crucifixion’ for the
Dedlicote window centre light, Jones do one of the ‘Nativity’ for one
side light and Morris one of the ‘Resurrection’ for the other. Jones’
price be £5 but that Morris only have £3.
These two small windows were made in 1863 and originally installed in
the South Aisle west window The left hand window shows the Angel Gabriel
standing holding a large scroll. The right hand window shows Mary in a
small room, kneeling with a large lily in a pot on the floor.
The inscription below the Angel is ‘Ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filium
et volcabitur nomen eius Emmanuel’. This translates as ‘Behold a virgin
shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel’.
The scroll that is held by the Angel says ‘Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus
tecum’ which translates as ‘ Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you’.
The inscription below Mary is ‘Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et
virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi’. This translates as ‘The Holy Spirit
shall come over you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you’.
Burne Jones’ cartoon , originally designed for tiles and previously used at
St Martins’ Scarborough, is in the Birmingham City Art Gallery.
St Anne and St Catherine
Left. St Anne by Maddox Brown
Right. St Catherine by William Morris
These were made in 1873 and originally installed in the South Aisle central window. They are not displayed next to each other now, Saint Anne being by the front door and St Catherine in the main church by the organ.
St Mary the Virgin and St Nicholas
Left. The Virgin and Child by Burne Jones
Right. St Nicholas with Babe by Burne Jones
These were made in 1877 and originally installed in the South Aisle east window. The Virgin and child is inscribed Sancta Maria Virgo and shows Mary in a blue and white cloak. Unusually the Virgin is crowned. St Nicholas is in a green cape lined with gold.
St Elizabeth and St Gregory
Left. St Elizabeth by Burne Jones
Right. St Gregory by Burne Jones
These were made in 1881 and originally installed in the North Aisle central window. St Elizabeth is in a dark blue robe over green. St Gregory is in gold vestment lined with dark green.
St George and St Ursula
Left. St George by Burne Jones
Right. St Ursula by Burne Jones
These were made in 1887 and originally installed in the North Aisle east window. St George is in orange red armour. St Ursula is in blue over red with a green halo.
St John and St Margaret
Left. St John the Evangelist by Burne Jones
Right. St Margaret by Burne Jones
These were made in 1888 and originally installed in the North Aisle west window. St Margaret is in blue and green and shown walking on a red dragon. St John is holding a copy of the bible with the inscription ‘In principio erat verbum et verbum erat apud Deum’. This translates as ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God’.
Dedworth through the ages
It is thought that Clewer and Dedworth were originally Saxon villages. They are certainly listed as manors in the Domesday Book of 1086, under the Saxon names of Clivore and Dideorde, when the populations are estimated to have been about 60 and 20 respectively. Both manors were in the Berkshire Hundred of Ripplesmere.
Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, the ownership of Clivore had passed from Harold, Earl of Wessex to Ralf, son of Siegfried, whilst Dideorde had passed from Hugh the Chamberlain to Albert of Lotharingia.
About 1070, the high ground of Clivore was taken for the building of Windsor castle. For many centuries the Crown paid rent to the manor of Clewer.
None of the pre – 12th century buildings of Dedworth or Clewer have survived, but at about the year 1100, the nave of St. Andrew’s Church in Clewer was built.
Mill House at the end of Mill Lane in Clewer marks the site where a mill stood for over 800 years. It is thought that there was probably a river landing point and a ferry crossing of the Thames nearby.
Did you know that many of the roads between Ruddlesway and Smiths Lane are named after 16th century Windsor Mayors? One of the best remembered, three times mayor Richard Gallys, was landlord of the Garter Inn, immortalised in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. Testwood Road and Pierson Road are named after two of the Windsor Martyrs. In1543, in the reign of of Henry VIII, Anthony Pierson, Robert Testwood and Henry Filmer were found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake below the Castle.
Robert Testwood was a member of St. George’s Chapel choir and Anthony Pierson was a preacher in Windsor. Their associate John Marbeck, organist at St. George’s Chapel, was pardoned and lived to tell their story. His name lives on in Marbeck Close.
Source : The Streets of Windsor and Eton, produced by Windsor Local History Publications Group.
By the mid-1800s Dedworth was still a small settlement set 2 miles west of the growing town of Windsor. A map of 1856 shows that the major road pattern we have today was in place with Maidenhead Road and Dedworth Road linked by Roses Lane and Smiths Lane. Clewer Hill Road linked Dedworth Green to Clewer Green. Wolf Lane was a track that ran up the hill to the St Leonard’s Mansion (which is now the site of Legoland). There were a few houses stretched along the Dedworth Road at Dedworth Green plus a few larger properties but essentially Dedworth was an area of fields and farms on the lower land with forest up on St Leonard’s Hill.
When the decision to build All Saints Church was taken in 1861 the site was a field at the junction of Dedworth Road and Clewer Hill Road. The houses in Church Terrace were built in 1888. For a look at an interesting map of Dedworth from 1881 try this website http://www.old-maps.co.uk. Search in the top left box on Dedworth.
Dedworth, as we know it today, developed westwards from Clewer starting in the 1930s and 40s with housing at Dedworth Drive and St Andrews Crescent. In the l950s with the housing at Perrycroft, Priors Road and the ‘prefabs’ at Foster Avenue (replaced in the early 1970s). In the 1960s the ‘Laing’ estate (to the west of Smiths Lane) provided nearly one thousand houses and flats that extend over a large area which had mostly been fields and open countryside. Three roads on this estate were named after Protestant Martyrs, Robert Testwood, Henry Filmer and Anthony Pierson, burned at Windsor Castle in 1544. A development on fields and woodland in the late 1960s and early 1970s provided housing in the White Horse Road and Hemwood Road areas. Also in the 1970s the Broom Farm army estate was developed. Since this time little new housing has been built in Dedworth.
In 1993 the Rogers Garage site in the Dedworth Road was cleared and the Tesco store was opened. This had a dramatic effect on the smaller businesses in the area with the closure of several small supermarkets and shops (eg. Bakers, Greengrocers). The shopping parade at Ruddlesway has not recovered from this and there is doubt over its future.
There are three other church buildings in Dedworth. St Marks, the Catholic Church in Dedworth Road, built on the site of the old Dedworth Community Centre, and the Baptist Church in Smiths Lane were both built in the 1960s. The Gospel Hall at the corner of Ruddlesway and Dedworth Road was opened – in April 1996. The Baptist Church was badly damaged by fire in 2000 and the Church part of the building has been demolished.