The Engraved Glass

Designed and engraved by
Tracey Sheppard, FGE

The Glass Screen:  The central cross is formed by the twisted stems and thorns of a blackthorn tree. The dead lower section gradually breaks into bud, flower and finally leaf in a reference to the Tree of Life and the Resurrection. The central bronze patch is engraved with the interwoven symbols Alpha and Omega. The words ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 4.9) and ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation’ (Psalm 27.1) can be read both from the Chancel and the Lady Chapel and encourage a moment of calm and stillness during Communion and are a reminder of God’s greatest gift to us.

The Glass Doors and Fixed Panel:  Words from Psalm 148 inspired this design: ‘Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights’. The sun, moon and stars in the fixed panel above the doors illustrate verse 1 but also may be taken as a reference to the omni-presence of God (night and day) and to the twelve disciples (12 stars). The doors themselves are decorated with the word ‘Praise’.
Psalm 148.9, ‘fruitful trees’: There was a rich tradition of illuminated manuscripts in the early Church and the founders of St. Nicholas in 1120 would have been familiar with these texts. It is with this in mind that the letters ‘P’ and ‘S’ have been decorated with

• the blossom, leaves and fruit of the pear tree: The pear
frequently appears in Christian art in connection with the
incarnate Christ, who loved all humankind. It is
thought that this part of Hampshire was once rich in
orchards;
• oak leaves and acorns: Oak is used as a symbol of strength of faith;
wheat: the bread of the Eucharist;
a vine: the wine of the Eucharist.

Glass Screen to the South Transept:  Psalm 36.9, ‘With thee is the fountain of life’. This screen, with the Lady Chapel on one side and the font on the other, refers to both the Virgin and the living water of Baptism. There is a well in Wickham known as the Dipping Hole and wells or fountains have been used in Christian art as a symbol for the Virgin and are also appropriate symbols as the source of living water. This design is thus based around a fountain featuring the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove bearing an olive branch. Fish, an ancient Christian symbol, swim through the waters of the fountain – a reference to our searching for God.