Buckfast’s big surprise

I saw a photo online just now of one of the most striking examples of stained glass I’ve ever seen.

It’s at Buckfast Abbey (home of the notorious Buckfast Tonic Wine), which I visited on a family holiday a few years ago. The window I have in mind is striking in itself, but also because of its context.

Buckfast Abbey was re-established by French Benedictine monks in 1882, and the abbey church was built between 1905 and 1937 – with, remarkably, never more than six monks working on it at any time, and using primitive construction methods (see Wiki for details).

Mostly, the abbey church is pretty conservative. To call it “gothic pastiche” would be unkind to its devoted and consecrated builders, but you’ll notice that didn’t stop me ;-). Anyway, here’s the view as you approach the building:

And then here’s the view from inside, looking down the nave:

And then you walk down the nave, round the back of the high altar, to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (added in 1968), and your jaw drops:

In itself, I’m in two minds about this window. I called it “striking” for a reason. But in its context, it takes your breath away. Simply stunning.

(All photos via Wikipedia. See abbey, nave, window for details of public domain release.)


One thought on “Buckfast’s big surprise”

  1. I remember it well; and I have a feeling that there is some more of this glass at Aylesford Abbey,. Sort of great fractured chunks of glass in a kind of mosaic style?

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