THIS SERIES OF 12 WINDOWS is inspired by ‘The Reckoning of Time’ — Bede’s greatest scientific achievement. Written in 725AD, the book calculated a 1253 year cyclical calendar thereby creating the basic of the western calendar we still use today.
For Bede, science and Christian faith were intertwined and ‘The Reckoning of Time’ draws parallels between the workings of the natural world and passages in scripture that seek to explain God’s relationship with creation. The bible passages integrated into the designs here were chosen by the present day community of St Peter’s church.
Bede’s observations of the changing seasons, tidal patterns, phases of the moon and the daily passage of time are celebrated in the window’s imagery. They represent a whole year and are split into groups of three each depicting a different season — the trees and plants portrayed are believed to have grown around St. Peter’s monastery in Bede’s time. The band of coloured blocks that runs through the design illustrate mediaeval units of time from the smallest (‘momentum’ = 1/40 hour) to a full hour indicated by the continuous amber-coloured band.
Just as Bede observed the changes from day to night, the windows change with the light, revealing variations in pattern, shadow, reflection and colour at different times of the day and year and in varying weather conditions. Unlike most traditional stained glass they are also intended to be viewed from the exterior of the building as well as inside.
St. Peter’s is recorded as the first building in Britain to feature coloured glass. These windows continue that intention, again bringing cutting-edge use of materials and processes to the site.
Commissioned by SUNDERLAND CITY COUNCIL
Designed by Rachel Welford & Adrian Riley