The Windows of Manchester Cathedral

The Windows of Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral, originally the Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George, has stood in place for hundreds of years, watching the rivers Irk and Irwell race by. It has seen many changes throughout its history, not least the changing of its surroundings as modern buildings rise around it, taking the place of old ones. Only the nearby Chetham’s Library seems to have accompanied the cathedral through the centuries.

Manchester Cathedral

Just glance at some of the windows in this majestic cathedral and you will immediately see that these are not the cathedral’s original windows. Neither are they the Victorian stained-glass windows which once adorned the cathedral – these were destroyed, along with the north-eastern corner of the cathedral, during the Manchester Blitz of 1940.

Regiment Chapel at Manchester Cathedral.
Regiment Chapel.
The Fire Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The Fire Window.

More recently, the Fire Window in the Regiment Chapel had to be reconstructed having been destroyed after an IRA bomb exploded nearby in 1996. I found the Fire Window very effective. Whether by design or just by accident, a tree stands outside the window and I thought that it helped give the effect that the flames were moving when the leaves and branches moved to and fro in the wind.

The Revelation Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The Revelation Window

The Revelation Window (one of five by artist Antony Hollaway) was commissioned in 1995. Look carefully at the green portion of the window in the bottom right-hand corner and you will see the names of its creators etched in the glass.

A close up of the Revelation Window at Manchester Cathedral.
A close up of the Revelation Window etched with “Revelation designed by Tony Hollaway and made by Tony Bruce and Amy Hollaway 1995. The architect was Barry Rawson.”
The Hope Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The Hope Window with a statue of Humphrey Chetham.

Behind a statue of Sir Humphrey Chetham, sits The Hope Window by Alan Davis. This is the newest window in the cathedral, having been completed in 2016, and the abstract design of the window revolves around hope, innovation, growth and new light.

The Creation Window (installed in 1991) is another by Antony Hollaway, sitting in the west of the outer south aisle.

The Creation Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The Creation Window.

Another window by Antony Hollaway is the St George Window (installed in 1972). It depicts the red cross of St George and the dragon’s upswept tail.

The St George Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The St George Window.

The St Denys Window (installed in 1976), also by Antony Hollaway, sits in the west window of the outer north aisle. St Denys is one of the three patron saints of the cathedral.

The St Denys Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The St Denys Window.

Antony Hollaway’s St Mary Window (installed in 1980) sits above the doorway in the tower wall. You cannot see them in this picture, but the glass contains words which when re-assembled make up verses from the Magnificat.

The St Mary Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The St Mary Window.

The East Window, the first stained glass window to be replaced after the Manchester Blitz, whilst in keeping with many church windows, is perhaps rather bland compared to the windows that would follow it. The window is in memory of Henry Boddington (1849 – 1925) and depicts John Byrom, Thomas Langley, Saint Aidan, Jesus Christ, Saint Chad, Hugh Oldham and Humphrey Chetham.

The East Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The East Window.

Windows at Manchester Cathedral.

The Healing Window by Linda Walton was installed in 2004 to commemorate the restoration of the cathedral which took place after being damaged by the 1996 IRA bomb.

The Healing Window at Manchester Cathedral.
The Healing Window at Manchester Cathedral.

1996 wouldn’t be the last time Manchester would be rocked by a bomb. In 2017, just a short distance away from the cathedral, the Manchester Arena bombing took the lives of 22 concert-goers and parents who were waiting at the entrance at the end of the concert. Many others were injured. A garden memorial, The Glade of Light, commemorating the 22 victims sits just outside the cathedral.


  1. Ginnie Hart says:

    I would be in heaven visiting that cathedral, Nikki. Seriously! Stained glass windows have always intrigued me but when there are so many different kinds within the same structure, it’s like hitting the jackpot. You had me at the Fire Window after describing what it looked like with the moving branches behind it!

    • P.S. I remember a couple of years ago you mentioned on someone else’s blog that you had previously read and enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry (I enjoyed it immensely) I don’t know if you already know or seen the tv adverts but there’s now a film of the book, if you’re interested it’s in the cinemas from the 28th of this month.

  2. This is definitely heading for my visiting list if we are ever up that way. I love stained glass because of the connection my family has with the profession and I too think that the Fire Window is beautiful.

    We recently visited Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, where they have had a modern stained glass window of Florence Nightingale installed, amongst their more traditional windows. The custodians were chatting to us about their horror and reticence of taking delivery of such a modern piece, but all agreed that when they actually saw it in situ. they really loved it!

    Just a confirmation that traditional and modern can co-exist quite happily together.

    Hope you had a peaceful Easter Weekend 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      I keep meaning to do a stained glass workshop as there’s someone fairly local who does them. I really must find the time! I would love to see what you created.

  3. Ann says:

    Those modern stained glass windows are stunning, Nikki. They do remind me of very similar ones I saw in a church in Bergues (France) last year! xxx

  4. What a wonderful tour of the windows, Nikki. I’m so glad I stopped by. Manchester isn’t a place that calls to me much but if ever I’m there I’ll make sure to visit the cathedral.

  5. Jo says:

    How sad that all the original windows were destroyed in the Blitz, and very sad too that Manchester is still being plagued by bombs. The windows are beautiful, I do love stained glass.

  6. Diana Studer says:

    My niece was gifted with a small stained glass plaque of a swallow, her favourite bird, for a round birthday. We love stained glass – something about the colour and the light – even better when the art is modern and speaks to us.

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