Bishop Philip Unveils Stained Glass Window in Honour of Beaulieu Motor Museum Founder

Bishop Philip Unveils Stained Glass Window in Honour of Beaulieu Motor Museum Founder

Bishop Philip had a great privilege of attending a special service at Beaulieu Abbey Church where he unveiled a new stained glass window in memory of Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu who was the custodian of the Beaulieu Estate and patron of the parish for 63 years.

The design by the artist Nicholas Bechgaard commemorates Lord Montagu’s lifelong work championing English heritage as an active member of the House of Lords and as founding president of the Historic Houses Association, as well as the first chairman of English Heritage, not to mention the founder of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

Bishop Philip was delighted to make his first visit to Beaulieu since taking office last year. He said: “This window is beautiful for its design, for its execution, and for its celebration of this place and its history. And there was beauty too in the very life that this window commemorates and celebrates. The 3rd Baron Montagu appreciated beauty and he appreciated history too.”

Edward’s son, Lord Montagu said: “It is over eight years since my father died but his spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of those of us who knew and loved him. I know he would be pleased to see this design resurrected and I hope that even after all of us have left this earth, the imagery here will be an enduring statement about the church in our community.”

The imagery in the stained glass window symbolises different aspects of the Christian faith, presented in the context of the local landscape. At the top, the crown and crosier are taken from the badge of Beaulieu Abbey which was founded by Cistercian monks in 1204. The dove in the quatrefoil represents the Holy Spirit, flanked by swans which are well known on the Beaulieu River and symbols of purity and grace. The central feature, an oak tree, represents Christ, the Tree of Life, rooted in the patchwork of fields which represent the parish. A cross marks the position of the church of today at the head of the Beaulieu River and an anchor further downstream locates the maritime village of Buckler’s Hard, where naval ships were built from local oak in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the Solent, the ship Salvata is depicted as this was the vessel used by the monks who founded Beaulieu Abbey in 1204. The fish surrounding it are symbols associated with early Christianity.

A specially composed anthem by composer and conductor George Arthur was performed for the first time during the service.