Eye for Detail
Many things go to make Kippen church one of the most
beautiful and interesting in Scotland. But perhaps the feature
that most sets it apart is its remarkable collection of stain glass
windows. Captivating individually, collectively the windows give
the interior a breathtaking depth of colour.
The most notable Scottish stain glass designer of the first half of
the 20th Century was Herbert Hendrie of Edinburgh who is
especially renowned for his contribution to Liverpool's great
Anglican cathedral. However, perhaps the finest exhibition of his
work in one building is in Kippen where he was responsible for
no fewer than fifteen superb windows constructed in the years
The building already contained some interesting late 19th
century glass, which was mostly retained, but Hendrie’s windows
moved the display up to a level that can stand comparison with
the finest work of the medieval glass painters. Some of the
windows, such as the magnificent west window by the pulpit or
the equally superb Childhood and Motherhood windows
directly opposite, are large and rich in detail and colour, the
latter having been likened in texture and appearance to crushed
jewels and mother of pearl. Others, such as the exquisite lancets
in the prayer chapel, are small, but no less memorable.
What was begun by Hendrie was, of course, continued in more
recent years by the addition of other windows, notably in 1972
when Flowers of all Season on the west wall was completed by
Gordon Webster of Glasgow. Given the quality of the work on
either side, the best compliment that can be paid to Webster is
that his modern design looks perfectly in place. Other
interesting relatively recent works are the two lancet windows
located by the side door, constructed by John Clark and, in one
case, designed by Dr Willie Rodger.
Top left: Detail of the 'Cameron' (1933) window by Herbert Hendrie, commissioned by Sir D.Y.
and dedicated to the memory of Lady Jean Cameron.
Top middle: 'The Triumphal Entry' and the 'New Jerusalem' (1930) window by Herbert Hendrie
and dedicated to Archibald Colville of Arngomery.
Top right: Detail of 'the Good Shepherd' (1926) window, by Herbert Hendrie.
Bottom left: 'St. Christopher' (1931) window, by Herbert Hendrie.
Bottom middle, right and centre: Details of the window (1985), by Willie Rodger and John
Clark and dedicated to the memory of James Carmichael of Shirgarton.