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Fairford Church

Fairford's St Mary's Church is well worth visiting for its 28 precious stained glass windows, made circa 1480 for the spaces they still occupy 500 years later. The windows decorate a classic "wool" church, built of Cotswold stone in the perpendicular style in the 15th century.

The windows were most probably designed by the Antwerp painter and engraver, Dirk Vellert. They are the only complete set in England to have survived both the Reformation and the Commonwealth, when the Puritans destroyed many of the "idolatrous" (ie. decorated) features of England's churches. During the Reformation the windows were whitewashed to disguise them and during the Civil War and the Second World War they were removed altogether for their protection.

Stained glass windows were the 15th-century equivalent of comics, art galleries and TV rolled into one. For a largely illiterate population they were the sole visual means of understanding the Bible's stories and were often referred to as the "Poor Man's Bible". Bear this in mind when surveying the 30-foot "Doom Window", which depicts the Last Judgement. Christ raises the dead while the Devil claims his own - the same subject as the incredible mosaic in the basilica of Torcello, in the Venetian lagoon.

Fairford Church Information


When: Daily

Where: Fairford

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: Summer 10am-5pm; Winter 10am-4pm;
Services Sun 8am, 10am and 6pm

Address: St Mary's, High St, Fairford, GL7 4AD

Hotels near Fairford Church


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