In 1848 a group of young artists, including John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, formed the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. By 1853 the term pre-Raphaelite came to be associated with a wider movement interested in medievalism and traditional handicraft, as a reaction against industrialisation and mechanisation. Two followers of Rossetti were William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Rossetti, Morris and Burne-Jones joined with other artists and architects to provide some of the most remarkable adornments to our nation’s churches. Here are twelve to inspire you.

A privilege and delight

This lovely Lincolnshire church houses what are believed to be the finest collection of windows by Sir William Burne-Jones RA in the country. It is a treasure house of glass, with ten windows by Burne-Jones and William Morris, a rare and valuable possession which is a privilege and delight to share. The chancel carpet that is woven to a pattern of William Morris.

St Paul, Morton

Unforgettable enjoyment

The village of Middleton Cheney is very fortunate to have had a personal friend of Edward Burne-Jones as its vicar in the 1860s. The result is an astonishingly beautiful set of stained glass windows that makes All Saints ‘a place of unforgettable enjoyment’ (Pevsner). Most remarkable is the west window, which depicts Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, flames swirling around them, in the Fiery Furnace. Other glass features designs by Philip Webb, Ford-Madox Brown, Simeon Solomon and William Morris, who also painted the nave ceiling.

All Saints, Middleton Cheney

Bustling with colour

Christ Church Cathedral boasts one of the earliest windows by Edward Burne-Jones: the east window in the Latin Chapel was designed by him in 1859. The window depicts St Frideswide and is different in style to his later windows, evoking the spirit of medieval glass with crammed scenes bustling with colour. Later windows by Burne-Jones are more familiarly pre-Raphaelite.

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

A first commission

The stained glass here was the first major ecclesiastical commission for the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. In addition to Morris, the artists involved were Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb. Webb designed the overall template for the windows, a central band of stained glass with clear glass above and below, and all of the animals and birds. Morris took charge of the foliage and background, and Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Madox Brown the figurative composition.

All Saints, Selsley

Unique and breathtaking

Gordon Chapel in Fochabers has the finest collection of preRaphaelite stained glass in Scotland. It is breathtaking, what a find! Sir Edward Burne-Jones designed the earliest windows and they were all installed by Morris & Co between 1874 and 1928. The church was built on the first floor with a schoolroom for the education of the local children on the ground floor, a unique design at the time.

Gordon Chapel, Fochabers

Fantastical glass and woodcarving

St Michael & All Angels in Brighton is really two churches. The first was designed by Bodley, one of the first major patrons of Morris & Co. The magnificent decorative display includes a painted ceiling by William Morris and Philip Webb and stained glass by Morris, Webb, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Peter Paul Marshall. The second church, was designed by Burges, is noted for its fine woodcarving, including fantastical animal scenes on the misericords which include a frog barber and a grasshopper riding a snail.

St Michael & All Angels, Brighton

Lush fabric and draping

There has been a church on this site dedicated to the 6th century Welsh saint for over a thousand years. St Deiniol has seen several restorations and one fire, so most is now 19th century. There are several Burne-Jones windows, but the real stunner is the 1898 west window portraying a nativity scene with the rich fabrics and lush draping so common to his work. The church also houses a glorious monument to former Prime Minister William Gladstone, whose library is next to the church.

St Deiniol, Hawarden

Breathtaking richness

Waterford church was designed by the architect Henry Woodyer and, like many of his churches, was decorated with breathtaking richness. Woodyer designed an elaborately carved font cover bristling with crocketted pinnacles, whilst the floor of the church is paved with colourful Minton tiles and the chancel walls are covered in vibrant mosaics by Powell & Sons. The church's finest feature is the stained glass by Morris & Co which includes designs by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb.

St Michael & All Angels, Waterford

Explosive colour

St Martin's is the only church to have been designed by Philip Webb. Webb is famous for designing the Red House for William Morris and is sometimes called the Father of Arts & Crafts. Webb insisted on complete autonomy over the design and decoration of the church, and commissioned Morris & Co to make the stained glass. Twelve windows are by Edward Burne-Jones, including the overwhelming, dazzlingly colourful east window described by Simon Jenkins as ‘one of the most explosive displays of Pre-Raphaelite colour in the country’.

St Martin, Brampton

Rich and glorious

The decoration transforms Bodley's lofty interior into a rich and glorious gallery. The outstanding feature is the pulpit of painted panels designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Ford Madox Brown. William Morris and Philip Webb painted the ceilings of the chancel and north chapel, and behind the altar is blind tracery containing the ‘Adoration of the Magi’ by Edward Burne-Jones. There is remarkable stained glass, including four rose windows in the chancel by Rossetti and Morris and west windows by Brown and Burne-Jones.

St Martin on the Hill, Scarborough

Son of the city

St Philip's church in Birmingham did not become a cathedral until 1905. It was designed by Thomas Archer in the English Baroque style in 1709. In 1883-84, the small apse at the east end was replaced with a chancel. Edward Burne-Jones, a son of the city who was at the height of his powers, designed three dazzling stained glass windows depicting the Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds, the Crucifixion, and the Ascension. The west window depicting the Last Judgment, also by Burne-Jones, was added in 1897.

Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham

Infinitely superior

Built by William White, the church is famous for its works of art. There is glass by Morris and Burne-Jones, which Pevsner called ‘exquisite throughout and infinitely superior to anything done by anyone else at that time’. There is also a fresco of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Frederic Leighton, whilst William White's own mastery of detail is in the brickwork and carved figures of angels, saints and muscians. In the churchyard are the ashes of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice.

St Michael & All Angels, Lyndhurst

Glory in glass

The glory of Speldhurst church is its glass, which has been described as showing Morris & Co. in its prime. Ten windows were designed by Edward Burne-Jones, several in collaboration with William Morris. Most date from the 1870s, when the church was rebuilt by John Oldrid Scott. Most celebrated is the west window in the north aisle, known as the Window of Praise, which features angels playing musical instruments. The church also features glass by Clayton & Bell and Charles Eamer Kempe.

St Mary, Speldhurst

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