St Margaret Clitherow Window

Designed and crafted by Harry Harvey FMGP

(FMGP = Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters)

“I was allowed complete freedom to design a St Margaret Clitherow window, and with a change of choice for the two supporting saints, my first scheme was accepted intact. In a glass area of 272 sq ft cost is bound to be an important consideration, as complicated work is very costly. The detailed work is more or less confined to the largest of the five openings along the south wall, and the other four are conceived as a curtain-like area of light colour, dominated by vertical lines and harmonising with the general architecture.

The centre of the main window has strong lines and unfussy colour which symbolise St Margaret’s life; she was a York housewife but of indomitable courage and conviction – these qualities made her extraordinary so the figures of Ss Wilfrid and Hilda, the former as Bishop and the latter holding a model of St Mary’s Abbey, Whitby. Above these are the Chalice and Dove.

There is a suggestion of the Shambles, where St Margaret lived, balanced by her name, the lower part of the composition gave room for a subsidiary theme. This is provided by the manner of the martyr’s death. It shows a closed door for the imprisonment of ideas, the oppression of minorities and the enmity which disfigures human affairs, to the right, and another door, open to enlightenment – in this case to the Christian faith. St Margaret guides her children this way, and boy is in modern dress to suggest that the same problems still exist today.

The complicated scrollwork in blue and purple sets off the calmness of the main figure and in the apex of the window are the crown and palms of martyrdom”.  [Harry Harvey]



About the Artist – Harry Harvey:

Harry Harvey, 88, who died on 29 January 2011, lives on in his work in 70 Yorkshire churches, as well as York’s Guildhall and the Astronomical Clock in York Minister.

Mr Harvey was brought up in Birmingham and moved to York in 1947 at the invitation of respected peer Harry Stammers, who had been asked to revive the York School of Glass Painting.

He eventually opened up his own studio and his assistants, Sep Waugh and Ann Sotheran, have themselves become renowned for their work, owning studios in the city.

His artistic flair did not stop there though. He also had a flair for fashion, said his widow, Margo Harvey. “He always had an interest in fashion and thought men wore rather sombre clothes,” she said. “I’ve seen him turn a piece of deck chair material into a perfect bow tie.”

Mr Harvey was also a keen cricketer, and enjoyed gardening, cooking and walking holidays, she said.

Mr Harvey, who lived in Haxby and most recently in Wigginton coached and played for Clifton Alliance Cricket Club, and helped during the refurbishment of its clubhouse, planting bushes from seedlings from his own garden.

“He was still gardening shortly before his death, planting beans and making plum jam and marmalade,” said Mrs Harvey.

She said she used to enjoy helping at Mr Harvey’s studio. “It was so nice to be involved in it. I never quite knew who was going to be sitting on the settee when I came home from work. Often an archbishop!”

Mrs Harvey, a nursing sister, found when she met Mr Harvey they both had a mutual love for dogs. They used to take home rescue dogs, usually two at a time, until the last few years. Her husband’s love of dogs was well known in the community and neighbours would bring theirs round to visit, she said.

Mr Harvey is survived by his brother, Reg, two sons, Michael and Jeffrey from a previous marriage to Eileen, granddaughter Katherine and great granddaughter Mina.


Harry Harvey at work