Saint Mary's Church, Waterloo Park



an article kindly submitted by Francisco Rubia

I will never forget the first time I "discovered" Saint Mary´s church. It felt as if I had found a treasure because, although I have been living in Waterloo for twenty one years, I had never even heard of the church. It was all thanks to Heritage Open Days in September 2015 that I came across such a beautiful gem. As I walked down Park Road, I confess I was full of excitement, and when I got to St. Mary´s Road and saw the church for the first time, I loved the building, but little did I know that the church that reminded me of St. Asaph´s Cathedral in Wales, contained one of the most glorious collection of stained glass windows I had seen in my life. I am no expert, but my love for stained glass has taken me to many corners of Britain, simply to admire and take pictures of such impressive pieces of art, particularly those produced by the great artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Although St. Mary's does not own any glass produced by those superb artists, the stained glass windows we can admire today should be considered among the best in our region.

Why do so many churches and cathedrals display such astonishing collections of stained glass windows? Apart from the fact that they add more beauty to any religious building, in the Middle Ages, when most people were illiterate and, thus, unable to read, those going to mass were able to identify scenes from the Bible or learn about different saints. Victorian architects and artists in general loved the Middle Ages and found their inspiration in medieval legends and ancient cathedrals, so it is not surprising that so many Victorian buildings, like our beloved St. Mary's church, were built in Neo-Gothic style. When we think of the great cathedrals of England, say Canterbury, Lincoln or York, not only are we overwhelmed by the scale of such impressive buildings, but also by the glory of their stained glass windows, among the very best in Europe.


1. The Good Shepherd. This gem is hidden on the North wall to the left of the East window.

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