The East Window

The east window, designed and made by Lawrence Lee and installed in 1969, is among the finest modern glass in Derbyshire. As a tablet in the sanctuary records, the window was given in memory of the Bailey family of the Butts, Matlock 1838-1938.

The artist has written the following notes:

In general, the design is an attempt to express the central doctrine of Christianity — the Incarnation — by means of symbolism rather than figures… the first sketches were based on very primitive signs to represent concepts of man and God.

The signs are the earth coloured Y figure (man reaching out to God) and the blue inverted Y figure (God reaching out to man), the ascending and descending branches interlocking to enclose a diamond-shaped space. The Christian apologist might argue that this space remained unfulfilled until the coming of Christ. In the present case the fulfilment is expressed by the threefold circle, i.e. the inner shape – the spirit of man; the purple circle – the human intellect; and the outer green circle – the body.

Descending from the top tracery is a form to suggest the richness of God available to man, entering the sphere of man at a narrow point where the only recognisable figure in the window is seen as the Christ crucified (This image has a formal function as a means of linking the tracery with the main lights and overcoming the heavy blackness of the stonework). The Incarnation is thus seen as the deliberate limitation of God to the scale of human tragedy. In the outer lights the rich green and red bands form an earthly frame on which the complex but rich patterns of man’s activities are imposed at intervals until they reach the other – worldly forms in the tracery.

Lawrence Lee

This replaces a Victorian window, perhaps by one of the Gibbs brothers or William Warrington, which in 1930 had been coated in black paint, an act of barbarism explained by the then general hostility to High Victorian art.