Stained Glass of St Michael & All Angels Booton
There is a general consensus that this church is “remarkable” and “extraordinary” – however there is less agreement as to the emotions it will invoke. These are best summed in the words of the Church Conservation Trust: “You may love the church; you may be outraged by it, but you cannot remain unmoved by such an exuberant oddity”
The church was built at the end of the 19th century, completed in 1891. It was designed by the Reverend Whitwell Elwin, a descendant of Pocahontas of Hiawatha fame, without the aid of an architect. Elwin “borrowed” a vast number of details from other churches across the country e.g. the west window was influenced by St Stephens Chapel. Westminster, however, the slender twin towers and the central pinnacle are believed to have been designed by Elwin himself. As a result the church is best described as a “gothic fantasy”
All the windows contain stained glass of the period (or possibly a little later) and add much to the ambience of the building. In deference to the church’s dedication, all depict representations of angels,many of which are said to have been portraits of “blessed girls” with whom Elwin was an “affectionate, almost intimate counsellor” – as you can see they are beautiful individually and en masse create a stunning group.
David King believes that although the designer of the scheme “started by imagining a strictly biblical or theological arrangement he soon became carried away on flights of iconographical fancy” The scheme itself was started by Cox, Sons and Buckley assisted by the glaziers Purchase and Booker. Subsequently Alex Booker was responsible for designing a number of the windows in particular those in the nave.
Needless to say this is a church that really does deserve a visit.