The stained glass

A description of the stained glass is given in an article "Medieval Painted Glass in Staffordshire Churches" in the Transactions of the Birmingham Archeological Society, 1952:

Bushbury Saint Mary.

Practically the whole of these windows in the north and south wall of the chancel have been restored in the nineteenth century as original fragments in the trailwork borders show. There were two early fourteenth century designs in these borders, the first a mapeleaf trailwork and the other the triple towered castle of Castile between fleur-de-lys. The grisaille was ornamented with the thick curving stems of oak leaves; the leads are arranged in a trellis pattern similar to Blithfield. The designs of the circular medallions are ornamented with the familiar four-armed vesica shaped foliage pattern and also the characteristic interlaced swastika type of foliage. Both of these are modem copies of the earlier work as fragments show. There are two early fourteenth century panels of glass set in the base of the western window of the south wall of the chancel. That at the foot of the central light shows a tonsured priest kneeling in prayer. He is dressed in a long dark blue habit with wide hanging sleeves. The head is drawn on glass of a pink brownish colour and the hands are outlined in black. The background is red and above is a canopy made up of fourteenth century ornament scratched out of black paint with a pointed stick. The capitals on which this arch rests are fragments of fourteenth century pinnacles, whilst the shafts supporting these are two pieces of a thick central stem from the oak leaf grisaille. The panel in the next light is partly made up under a canopy similar to that of the previous figure; the background is red. The figure is that of the infant Christ with a cruciform nimbus. He wears a long blue robe and sits upon a made-up throne; a finial takes the place of the left hand. Examination will show that this must have been part of a panel showing the Holy Mother and Child. The cross legged posture of the Child shows that He must have been seated on His Mother's arm because the left hand of His Mother is shown supporting Him. Furthermore a right hand extends a breast to the Child's mouth and He is shown about to suck the nipple as he gazes upwards, no doubt originally at his mother's face. Stebbing Shaw in his description of the church in 1798 mentions a window containing the Blessed Virgin and Child.

The tracery light in the east window of the south aisle contains an early fourteenth century figure of Our Lord seated in majesty with the right hand upraised in blessing and the left resting upon the orb of the world; the background has a scratched out spiral floral motive. At the time of writing (1952) the window below had been wantonly smashed and was boarded up. Fortunately the original tracery light is undamaged. An illustration of this is on page 8 in Volume II of Westlake's History of the Design in Painted Glass.


Following the restoration of the church in 1853, the Wolverhampton Chronicle of November 30th contained a description of the work. It commented on the stained glass as follows:-

"The windows were all painted and restored by Messrs.Ward and Hughes of Frith Street London. An unusual degree of interest attaches to these windows in consequence of their having been composed of, or restored with, glass made by Messrs. Powell of Whitefriars from analyses of ancient glass, furnished them by Charles Winston Esq. and C. H. Clarke Esq. and made either by these gentlemen or Mr. Medlock, late principal assistant at the Royal College of Chemistry. The repeated experiments and untiring exertion of Mr.Winston are most praiseworthy, in as much as he has been mainly instrumental in producing a glass of entirely different kind from any used within the last five centuries; and the best proof of its identity with glass of that period is the fact that in the restored windows it is absolutely impossible to distinguish the new material from the old: the present is the first instance wherein the glass of two dates have been so strikingly and successfully used together."

Note. For comment on Charles Winston and his work see: "Making Stained Glass". (1972) by Robert and Gertrude Metcalf.

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