Thomas Traherne, MA (1636 or 1637, Hereford, England - ca. 10 October 1674, Teddington) was a metaphysical English poet and religious writer.
He grew up and went to school during the turbulent years of the Civil War, when Hereford changed hands several times between Royalists and Parliamentarians.
After gaining his degree in Oxford, he returned to Credenhill near Hereford. He was first a parish priest for 10 years and then as the private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Seals of Charles II.
(Life of Traherne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Traherne)
His work was not recognised until rediscovered in manuscripts and published at the very beginning of the 20th century.
The Centuries were published in 1908 and it is mainly from these that Traherne scholars advised the Cathedral to look for extracts. These were then used by Gloucestershire based stained glass artist Tom Denny to design and complete the newest stained glass windows in the Cathedral, in the Audley Chapel in 2006/07.
(The Centuries: http://www.spiritofprayer.com/traherne.php)
The four panels contain the following scenes; Do zoom in to see a lot of hidden detail and symbolism!
- Light one from bottom to top: A stream fed pool (and Tom Denny’s signature 2006 on right); figure running through a cornfield; in the distance, the city of Hereford.
- Light 2: above a phoenix, a cross of fire surrounded by animals, birds and battling men.
- Light 3: A figure standing at one with creation with insects, minerals and Credenhill church in a river valley.
- Light 4. View through a gate to a crowded city.
Rather than go into a full description of detail here, you are directed to the Hereford Cathedral leaflet “Stained Glass to Commemorate Thomas Traherne”.
Other stained glass commissions by Tom Denny:
A church full of windows at St. Christopher, Warden Hill, Cheltenham; three windows for Gloucester Cathedral; a window for St. John's, Slimbridge, Gloucester; a window for St. Mary's, Powerstock, Dorset; a window for St. John's, Accrington, Lancashire, and a window for the Diocesan Museum, Regensburg, Germany. (http://www.roughwood.net/ChurchAlbum/WestSussex/Nuthurst/NuthurstStAndrew2004.htm)
2002: Work and Prayer. St. Catherine & St. John Chapel Tewkesbury Abbey (http://professor-moriarty.com/info/section/stained-glass/designers/england/denny-thomas-work-prayer-tewkesbury-abbey). 2010: Tom Denny is currently working on an enormous Transfiguration window that illuminates Cuthbert's shrine at Durham Cathedral. (http://www.bsmgp.org.uk/Events/Lectures.htm).
Eight stained glass windows in Hereford Cathedral are described individually and in detail in separate articles, links below