The Canon John Mortell Stained Glass Window


Stained glass window at St Margaret Clitherow’s Church in Haxby dedicated to Canon John Mortell


Canon John MortellA STAINED glass window has been dedicated to the late Canon John Mortell, who served the parish of Haxby for more than 25 years.


The window was commissioned after parishioners decided they wanted to pay tribute to Canon Mortell, who was based at St Margaret Clitherow’s Parish from 1978 until he retired in 2004.


The popular Canon had overseen the building of St Margaret Clitherow’s Church in Haxby and had only enough funding for stained glass at the front of the church.

After he died in August 2005, aged 80, parishioners decided the window would be a suitable memorial for him.



Kath Campbell, who led the fundraising committee, said: “It was always his wish to put stained glass there so it was a wonderful tribute for him.”  She said the parishioners held a number of social functions over about 15 months to raise the £14,000 to £15,000 needed for the window. They also received generous
donations from individuals.


Graeme Willson, an artist from Ilkley, designed the window, which is split into six windows with a wooden sculpture of Christ in the centre.  He said: “There are six upright lancet windows that get bigger towards the middle where there’s a wooden sculpture of Christ with his arms outstretched.


“The idea came to me of having this blaze of light and colour coming out of the figure of Christ because the Bible talks about Christ as the light of the world.

“What’s fascinating is that behind the window there’s a lot of vegetation, hedges and other trees, which adds a kinetic element and you’re aware of the subtle waving in the background.”


The craftwork was carried out by Martin Johnson and Co, of York.

Phil Barrand, contracts director at Martin Johnson and Co, said the company, which has worked on prestigious restoration projects around the country including the glazing of Temple Newsam Hall, hopes the commission will lead to them manufacturing more new stained glass windows.


The window was installed in May 2009 after 18 months of fundraising.  The six window apertures are ‘pulled together’ into a unified whole around the sculptural figure of Christ above the tabernacle. Christ as the ‘Light of the World’, the focus of faith, is but the prelude to the full glory of the resurrection which is about to burst forth from the eclipse and encompass all of creation. The full explanation of the design can be seen in the church.