Medieval stained glass from Whitby Abbey

As we approach the Easter weekend we felt that our object of the week should be related to our Whitby Abbey collection.

In 664 Whitby Abbey hosted the Synod of Whitby. Up until that point there was a difference of opinion between the Roman and Celtic versions of Christianity as to the date that Easter should be celebrated. At the synod this was debated and the Roman practice was officially adopted. So Whitby played an integral part in establishing the date on which we now celebrate Easter.

Our object, or objects, of the week form part of our Whitby Abbey collection. Contained in an oak screen made by Thomas Whittaker, the ‘gnome-man’ of Littlebeck, we have four panels of medieval stained glass from Whitby Abbey.

The panel showing a man’s head with full beard and typical headpiece is particularly fine, and dates to about 1410, around the time of the completion of the Great East Window, if only we knew who he was. The glass roundel is especially colourful when the light shines through it. It is amazing that the colours are still so vivid after 600 years and lets you imagine how spectacular the Abbey must have been.