Nearly every small hamlet, village or town has this quiet and dignified resident, often surrounded by graves so ancient that the names and dates have been erased by the elements.None, however, has the drawing card of St.Marys Church of Fairford, England, southwest of Oxford, west of London and near Americans stationed at RAF Fairford.
St. Marys, parts of which date to the 13th century, has world-famous stained-glass windows created about 500 years ago and still nearly complete.
The 28 windows tell stories from the Bible, from Eves partaking of the fruit in the Garden of Eden to Christs reappearance from the tomb. Here is King Solomon settling the dispute over the young child, and there is Judas reaching for his pieces of silver.
The glass was made between 1500 and 1517 and has been repaired over the centuries due to storm damage and aging. But the work seen today was, for the most part, created by Barnard Flower, master glazier for King Henry VI, in his workshops at Westminster.
The detail is remarkable. Thomas touching of the wounds of Christ after the resurrection is stunning, as is the window depicting Jesus entry into Jerusalem and eventual death on the cross.
While the windows may be the churchs drawing card, they are, by no means, the only item worth viewing. Take a look at the chancel stalls, carved in about 1300, and notice the figures. A man with two dogs, a youth teasing a girl, and a man and woman draining a barrel are only a few of the seemingly lighthearted scenes to be found.
Look, too, at the churchs exterior. Youll find more carved figures, including a guardian of the tower and a boy playfully climbing onto the churchs roof.