Photos of the old church
building, just before it became disused
Monuments in the old churchyard
Notes by Peter Ditchfield for a Berks Archaeological Society field-trip,
Article on the old church
before removal of Conroy Chapel roof, 1939
Articles by Leslie North in the
Reading Chronicle, 1960s
Article in Berks Archaeological Journal, 1934
Stained Glass from Old Arborfield Church
What has long been thought to be some pieces of Old Flemish glass in the
new church of Arborfield, have been found to be the work of an 18th
century glass stainer of Reading.
It appears that when the old church was abandoned in 1863, an attempt
was made to take down the stained glass window over the altar. In the
process the glass was badly damaged, and only a head (Aaron) was saved.
The other fragments were thrown away. The true story of this window is
Among the less worthies of Reading in the 18th century was John Rowell,
by calling a plumber, who also practised the more artistic craft of
painting on glass, first at High Wycombe, and afterwards at Reading.
While it cannot be said that his skill was equal to that of the glass
stainers of the earlier and glorious epochs, he is reputed to have
discovered the wonderful red which was so conspicuous a feature of
ancient work. His secret is supposed to have died with him in 1756. The
window at Arborfield has two compartments in which were represented in
half-length the figures of Moses and Aaron holding the two Tablets of
the Law. In 1802 it was stated that “the colours of the drapery are
crimson, blue and purple: all very rich: the breastplate of Aaron
remarkably brilliant.” Under the window was an inscription in the Latin
and Greek tongues stating that the work was done in the year 1744, when
John Waterman was rector. He also bore the cost as well as that of
beautifying the chancel of the church.
Berks Archaeological Journal. Vol. 38 p. 95 (SPRING 1934)
There was a stained glass workshop in London Street in Reading
with a shop-front entitled 'C J Earthy', and owned by the Parish
of St. Giles. Although it had long since been disused as a workshop, the
name remained until the shop-front was repainted in the late 1980s.
Was this the site
of John Rowell's premises?
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