SGW2
SGW2

There are a number of examples of well-crafted stained glass to be found in Ivybridge and our own research has revealed many have a close connection.

 

At Stowford Lodge, located half way up the staircase, is a striking stained glass window depicting the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I. Stowford Lodge was historically part of Stowford Paper Mill. When John Allen purchased the mill in 1849 Stowford Lodge became his residence. During the 1860s, Allen totally rebuilt the house and the stained glass window was installed around this period.

 

Ivybridge Methodist Church has three more stained glass windows which are linked to the Allen family, who were generous benefactors to the church. The first is a set of windows above the front door of the church dedicated to Elizabeth, the wife of John Allen, who died in September 1875.  The Western Daily Mercury dated 4 January 1876 documents the installation of the windows by the glass making company Hall and Sons of Bristol.  The second, much larger set of windows lie in the south transept.  These were dedicated to John Allen following his death in 1877 with a band of lettering along the lower edge. The third window is in the chancel, above the cross, with the Agnus Dei. These later windows were all made by Hall and Sons.

Stained glass window at Stowford Lodge
Stowford Lodge exterior view
Stained glass window at Stowford Lodge
Stowford Lodge exterior view

John and Elizabeth Allen, had two sons and three daughters. Julia was their youngest child and at the age of twenty six married Alfred Hall, a 22 year old glass merchant from Bristol. The marriage took place at Plymouth in 1866. Alfred Hall was a family member of Hall and Sons of Bristol and given this fact, it is reasonable to speculate, that the window depicting Drake at Stowford Lodge was most likely made by this Bristol firm.

Alfred Hall, like Julia his bride, came from a strict Methodist family. His father, Samuel Romilly Hall, was a Methodist minister who travelled far and wide to promote the religion. Alfred and his older brother, John Wesley Hall, were involved in the family business with their grandfather, also called John Wesley Hall. The origins of the company are recorded in the 1860s journal of Hall and Sons, now at the Bristol Records Office.

 

The article states:

The founder of the company was John Hall, a country boy from Beaminster, Dorset, who became apprenticed to a glazier in Broadmead during the late 18th Century.

During his apprenticeship young John travelled to various parts of the country on contracts, broadening his outlook and experience. This was a period when travelling was infrequent for the majority of most people. On the last night of his apprenticeship, he locked up his master’s shop for the last time. The next morning he returned with a legacy from his father, a yeoman farmer, long saved for such a day….. and he purchased the business! The firm commenced business as glaziers in 1788, and flourished rapidly. The company excelled in the cutting and etching of glass. It became the major importer, processor and supplier of glass throughout the West of England. Bristol contains a number of stained glass windows and the City Corporation has one inscribed “John Hall,1766”…

Random writings
 Colin Harris, in his book “Random Writings”, revealed that the legend attributed to the scene depicted in the Stowford Lodge window never actually happened – it was a Victorian myth!  Whilst it is true that Queen Elizabeth was on the ship when the knighting of Francis Drake took place, she passed the sword to the French Ambassador to perform the ceremony in a diplomatic gesture of friendship.