Guide to St Michael's Church
This article appeared in the Winterbourne Parish Magazine, July 2004.
JK Rowling - and Alan Younger
Lots of people (at least in Winterbourne) know that the inventor of "Harry Potter" spent part of her childhood here, and indeed attended St Michael's School.
Not so many people know (yet; but one day the situation may be reversed) that Winterbourne has a stained glass window designed by Alan Younger, who died on 12 May 2004
A bequest in 1970 resulted in Alan's visiting the parish, and "painting a portrait" of its combination of agriculture and technology. Subsequently he went on to make windows for such world-heritage buildings as Durham Cathedral and Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey. In time, therefore, people are likely to come to Winterbourne above all to see this (mature, but early) example of his work.
Some of you will remember his lecture and slides, during our 1992 Flower Festival and 1998 Octocentenary Festival. You may also have read his chapter on all aspects of stained glass working over eight centuries in our 1998 book of essays, Small is Cosmic: Millennial issues in parochial perspective. Both the lectures and the essay demonstrated his having something to say, and his ability to say it; like his work itself, which was noted for his personal attention to every single stage.
We owe our possession of one of his windows to
(a) the thoughtful bequest of a kind donor
(b) the Church Council's single request, that it be something of our own era - can you see the echo of Concorde's tell-tale nose?
(c) the suggestion by the Diocese's Advisory Committee on such aesthetic and historical matters that we approach him. Gifts by the departed, committees' discussions, and planning authorities' suggestions, don't always receive the credit they deserve.
Thanks be to God for the beauty of our window (especially on a summer's evening), and for the life and work of Alan Younger. Our sympathy goes to his wife and two daughters.
E I Bailey