Stained Glass in Wales | Gwydr Lliw yng Nghymru

Learning and Labour

  Learning and Labour

Photo © Martin Crampin

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Two-light window. In the left-hand light the main scene depicts a seated man, perhaps a ruler, who appears to be teaching, with a student, or scribe, below, and two bystanders holding books. In the right-hand light a man stands with a hammer in his hand, working outside a tent, with another man working below, and a further figure behind carrying a burden. Angels with texts below.

firm/studio: probably Wailes & Strang

Church of St Elvan, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff
south wall of the south aisle

Probably by the firm of William Wailes, who were responsible for the east window. Their work is relatively unusual in the diocese. The original position of the window is uncertain, as the south aisle in which it is now situated was not built until 1911, so perhaps it was originally situated in the old south wall. The same firm may have been responsible for the original north transept window, which was replaced in 1905.

Texts held by angels: 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might' (Ecclesiastes 9:10); 'In the midst of life we are in death' (from the Book of Common Prayer Funeral Service).

Inscription: 'To the honor and glory of God erected by W. Thomas Lewis, in affectionate remembrance of his late pupils Edward C.E. Williams Carlton House Clifton & Herbert E. Evans Eaglesbush Neath A:D:1878.'

Herbert Edward Evans had been the heir to the Eaglesbush estate when he died in a tragic accident at Bute Colliery, Treherbert, in November 1877, aged only 18. The son of Edward Evans, the squire of Eaglesbush, he had been apprenticed to W.T. Lewis. Reports of his death were published in the Cambrian (16 November 1877) and the Glamorgan Gazette (9 November 1877). Information kindly provided by Sean Harris.

The meaning of this unusual window is unclear to us now. The full quotation from Ecclesiastes 9:10 is 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest,' and there is perhaps an encouragement in the window to work hard, in learning or in labour, while we have life.

Record added by Martin Crampin. Last updated on 07-06-2023


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Martin Crampin (ed.), Stained Glass in Wales Catalogue, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth, 2023. (accessed 21 April 2024)

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  Learning and Labour

Photo © Martin Crampin

Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies

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