Bladon Church, the subject of today’s Window Wednesday, is tucked away off a main road, so tucked away in fact that we drove past it twice and had to turn around to finally find it.
When I started my Window Wednesday posts it was because I have always loved how windows can frame a shot. You can look through the window and see it perfectly frame the vista beyond. Or an arrangement of objects just in front of them, flooded by the window’s natural light. It is rare then that the window itself is the feature of my Window Wednesday.
Bladon itself is a small town in Oxfordshire, consisting of a school, a couple of pubs and some pretty cottages built from distinctive Cotswold stone, along with a small church tucked up a small lane. We were staying up the road in Woodstock and having typed into Google “things to do near Woodstock” a trip to this church had appeared in the results. Obviously the first thing that comes up when you type that is to visit Blenheim Palace (which we duly did) but we wanted something to do the following morning, so this was perfect.
You might wonder why this small church would appear in those results when to all intent and purposes it’s a pretty unremarkable little church. Well it’s because it is the final resting place of Winston Churchill, who was born just up the road at Blenheim Palace.
I have to say it did seem really incongruous, that this giant of a man is buried in this tiny corner of Oxfordshire. If the question of “where is Churchill buried” had come up in a pub quiz I am pretty sure I would have answered “Westminster Abbey”, not Bladon.
And so to the window above. It was made by a lady called Emma Blount in 2015, for the 50th anniversary of his death in 1965 and features many references to Churchill. The left panel is dedicated to St Martin who is the patron saint of the church, and the right panel shows St Alban, the first Christian Martyr. Around the panels are many pictures with significance to Churchill. There are two planes, a tank, the Portcullis (the symbol of the House of Commons), his dogs Rufus I and Rufus II, and of course his cigar.
There are also references to things that are less well known about him. Plants and butterflies that he loved, such as wild celery, loves lies bleeding, green hounds tongue poppies for instance. There is also a pig called “Wow” and a cat called “Woo” as that is how Winston and his wife Clementine signed off their letters to each other.
It really is a beautiful window, full of small details that draw you in and have you wondering their meaning, I could have stood and stared at it for hours. Can you spot any other references and their meaning?