Gloucester Cathedral pays tribute to WW1 composer

New stained glass window commemorates local composer and poet Ivor Gurney

Gloucester Cathedral has unveiled a new stained glass window celebrating the life and work of composer and poet Ivor Gurney.


Gurney, who became known primarily for his songs in which he set his own words as well as those of others, started his musical life as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral in 1900. He later continued his studies there under the organist Herbert Brewer.

The new window, designed and created by stained glass artist Tom Denny, has been installed in the Cathedral’s 15th-century Lady Chapel. Each of the window’s eight lights draws on the imagery of the Gloucestershire countryside, a focal topic of Gurney’s work, alongside scenes from one of his poems detailing his troubled life, the horrors of war and, at last, hope.

The window was created with the help of a contribution from the Hartnett Conservation Trust in addition to ticket sales for the Gurney Music Festival in August last year that featured mezzo-soprano, Sarah Connolly. Connolly, who lives in nearby Stroud, was herself the driving force behind the window, both campaigning for its installation and instigating fund-raising events such as the festival.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said: ‘We are delighted that Tom has created such a wonderful new window in memory of one of Gloucestershire’s most beloved sons. It is a fitting tribute to all who served during the Great War and everyone is welcome to come and see this very special piece of craftsmanship’.

The window will be given a special dedication at Evensong on Wednesday 30 April at 5.30pm, at which Sarah Connolly will sing a Gurney song.


Holly Harrison