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Saint Martin

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Saint Martin’s Canterbury
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Saint Martin’s Canterbury
This church has been a worshiping place during the occupation of the Romans in England and it is the oldest parish in the history of England. This was set up by Saint Augustine, who arrived in Kent from Rome to spread Christianity to the people. Initially, it was considered as a private chapel of Queen Bertha in the 6th century, before the arrival of Saint Augustine. The Queen of Kent was previously a French princess who was a devoted Christian. On the other hand, Saint Martin’s church has been extended and altered in many different ways during the sixth, seventh and the fourteenth centuries. Despite all these alterations, the southern walls still maintain the ancient Roman fabric. On the other hand, the Abbey was destroyed the Reformation period, and it is still partially damaged. The design and precinct of the cathedral make up a diverse but coherent assembly of the medieval architecture. The interior part of the church contains some magnificent medieval designs, furnishings and the stained glass. Stained glass has been one of the distinguishing factors, which the church has, and it has a profound impact on the preservation of the medieval culture.
The East section of the Church contains a unique artistic creation that is enhanced by a set of stained glass windows that consist of the richest collection of colours in the United Kingdom. Although the new Gothic style upheld itself in the cathedral design, the stained glasses were used as a representation of a continued Romanesque influence.

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The windows on the west lancet side that had been installed in the cathedral destroyed by the 1194 inferno still retain the Romanesque traits on the glasses and arrangement of the dress folds2. The three big windows that were installed during the Gothic era on the cathedral were pledged to Christ’s life and his prophecies fulfilment. The influence of the stained glasses were on the rise in the 13th century, and they were made a narrative Avenue and the windows, advocated by Suger, represented an instruction source for the illiterate people1. Through the leverage of the stained glass, the right window of the cathedral represented the tree of Jesse, the window on the left represented the story of passion in the Redemption cycle, and the window at the centre illustrated Christ’s life.
Most people tend to think of hostility to imagery in the stained glasses as something that is confined in the reformation of the 16th century. However, the church states that this view is a misconception and hence the stained glasses have continued being popular in the parish churches. An entire window at the chevet chapel representing the life of St. Martin, showed in 33 panels of glass, contains many scenes such as the scene where the saint divided his cloak with a freezing beggar1. Another scene indicates the dream where Christ appears to him with the cloak. The stained glasses in the Chartres also represent other saints such as St. Remy, St. Lubin, St. Nicholas, and St. Cheron2.
Today, Chartres has retained approximately 152 windows out of 186 windows that existed from its time of construction, thus serving as a greatest ever treasure of the medieval stained glass. Other innovations that have been made in the Gothic stained glass are the experimentation with colours. The blue colour, also known as the Chartres Blue, was initially used on the three Romanesque stained glasses of the West front2. This colour involved the blue tones that were enhanced with some slight traces of red. Other contrastive colours such as green, red and yellow were used to render the biblical stories in a vivid manner (Athenapub.com 2015). These contrasts are effectively employed on the stained glasses of the nave clerestory at the Chartres that depict the enthroned Virgin.
The power and wealth that the cathedral had in the 12th century that resulted from the large amounts of offering from the many pilgrims that attended the church helped in building the and enlargement of the east end, together with the exceptional stained glasses1. These features are some of the finest examples of the early Gothic art and the rich panorama of the ancient Romans that the cathedral had acquired.
Due to the historical aspect that the church has in the history of England, the church has been preserved as a world heritage. The Cathedral precincts, together with St. Martin’s Church and St. Augustine’s Abbey have been included in the conservation areas. In this case, there are policies that help in protecting, promoting, enhancing and conserving this world heritage property and maintain it in a way that it does not lose its originality2. The design of the cathedral typically shows one of the greatest achievements of the Western architecture. The soaring segments that it displays and the glorious stained glasses indicate an overwhelming significance for the protection of the culture of medieval to the modern day. With this architectural design, the locals can prove that Christianity has been in existence for a very long time, and the Roman bricks and stained glasses indicate the designs that were used in the ancient times.
Bibliography
Athenapub.com, 2015. “Chartres”. http://www.athenapub.com/14chartres.htm.
Brown, Sarah, and Sebastian Strobl. A fragile inheritance: the care of stained glass and historic glazing: a handbook for custodians. London: Church House, 2002.

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