We are pleased to announce that HRH The Prince of Wales will grace us with his presence at the Priory Church on July 7th. This will be his third official visit to us since the year 2000.
At 12noon on that day the new Jesse Window in memory of the late Dean Jeremy Winston, who served as Vicar of Abergavenny for 18 years, will be dedicated by the Bishop of Monmouth, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales Patron of St Mary’s Priory Development Trust).
In front of an invited congregation of parishioners, donors and contractors, the Rt Revd Richard Pain will dedicate the window during a short service that will include scriptural references to Jesse, the father of King David.
The window, located in the east end of the Lewis Chapel, will complete the world-famous Jesse figure. This extraordinary larger-than-life figure once formed the base of an intricate and elaborate construction, which depicted the lineage of Jesus Christ from Jesse, the father of King David.
So called ‘Jesse figures’ and ‘Jesse trees’ are not uncommon in stone and stained glass, but this is the only one in wood to be found in the United Kingdom – and probably the world.
In the BBC series A History of British Art, Andrew Graham Dixon describes it as ‘the only great wooden figure to survive the wreckage of the British Cultural Revolution’. Carved from one solid piece of oak, probably in the 15th century, it was originally highly coloured and depicted all the Davidic kings and descendants, surmounted by the figures of Mary and the Child, and Christ in glory. Latest thought estimates the height of the ‘tree’ growing from Jesse’s side to have been between 25ft and 30ft.
The window, probably one of the greatest new works of church art in Wales since the Second World War, is being designed by Helen Whittaker, a renowned artist and designer, highly regarded for her new stained glass windows, restoration painting and architectural sculpture in glass and copper. There are five panels, or lights, to the window, each 15ft tall by 21 inches wide, with smaller tracery windows above.
The Priory Church will be closed to the public on July 6th & 7th.