The Beautiful East Window of St. Peter’s, Quernmore by Whitefriars Glass has a great story to tell!
Very few stained glass windows in the world could lay claim to having had a more challenging or convoluted journey from production to installation than the East Window of St. Peter’s Church, Quernmore near Lancaster.
The window, featuring depictions of the Nativity, Crucifixion & Resurrection was originally commissioned by William James Garnett of Quernmore Park Hall for Christ Church in Cannes after having spent a good deal of time wintering in the town. Mr. Garnett was also responsible for funding the building of St. Peter’s Church, Quernmore (1860) as it currently now stands, replacing an earlier chapel built in 1834. The triple lancet window was designed and produced by renowned London studio Whitefriars Glass or James Powell and Sons as it was latterly to be known. Disaster struck however during it’s voyage to Cannes as the ship transporting the window (the Fairy Vision) sank off the coast of Marseilles, taking its contents to the bottom of the sea.
Christ Church were fortunate to be able to claim through their insurers and an exact replica of the window was quickly made a re-shipped without incident.
As for the the wreck of the Fairy Vision, its valuable cargo was eventually salvaged by a Greek businessman and Mr Garnett was able to purchase back the window he had originally commissioned. Having had the stained glass re-shipped all the way back to the north west of England, it was repaired and slightly resized by a Mr. Burrow of Sandside, Cumbria. It was then presented (by all accounts non the worse for having spent five months submerged in the Mediterranean Sea) to St. Peters in 1867. A Lancaster newspaper was quoted at the time as saying – ‘Mr. Garnett has offered this beautiful addition to the parish Church at Quernmore in memory of his father and mother, whose remains lie in the churchyard close by.’
A diary entry from William James himself, dated 18th August, noted that ‘our new window looked very beautiful’.
Almost 150 years on, this well traveled example retains pride of place behind the altar at St. Peter’s and remains in excellent condition. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of it’s French counterpart; its whereabouts unknown, quite possibly having been destroyed when Christ Church was dismantled in 1951.
Our images show the window in it’s entirety and a number of closer detailed sections.