Some of you Get Fed readers might have a ready answer for this question.
“St. Paul’s church in Jarrow, right? Didn’t I read that in a Get Fed last week?”
Yes, good reader, you did. Now, some of the oldest stained glass on earth is framed in a little window at St. Paul’s. However, these are fragments of glass that have been reconstructed into the window you see today.
If we go on a hunt for the oldest complete stained glass windows, we have to venture a bit further afield.
You might think we are headed south to the now-Anglican Canterbury Cathedral, where St. Thomas à Becket was martyred in 1170. There are certainly some contenders here, as the cathedral boasts windows from the latter years of that century, and recent research suggests that some of them might be even older: from as far back as the 1130s.
But the most consistent claimant—according to our research—is the cathedral of the ancient town of Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany. Five windows here date from somewhere between 1065 A.D., when the church was consecrated, and the first half of the 12th century. They depict Moses, David, and other Old Testament prophets and are considered some of the oldest if not THE oldest complete stained glass windows in the world.
The celestial beauty of stained glass windows—some as old as Augsburg’s treasures, some from the later Middle Ages, some from the skillful workshops of the 19th century—grace Catholic churches everywhere. They are truly one of the great wonders of the Catholic art world. Maybe we’ll explore some great stained glass in future Get Feds! Would you like that?
In the meantime, you can bring the beauty and inspiration of stained glass into your own home. Our stunning Holy Spirit Stained Glass Roundel features beautiful blue marbled glass with the Holy Spirit, depicted as a shining dove, in the center. Perfect for the upcoming feast of Pentecost! Turn your ordinary sill into a little window into heaven. Order your roundel at The Catholic Company today!