Last edited 01 Jul 2021

Rose window

RoseWindow.jpg The rose window at St Mary's Church, Cheltenham is from the 14th century. It is presumed to commemorate the martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria, put to death on a wheel. This Grade I listed church is in a quiet section of Cheltenham's commercial heart; parts of the building date to the late 12th century.

Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (eighth edition) was published in 1986. It was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and written by Horst de la Croix and Richard G. Tansey.

It defines a rose window (or a wheel window) as: 'The large, circular window with tracery and stained glass frequently used in the facades of Gothic churches.'

In Gothic churches and cathedrals, the decorations in the rose window served as illustrations to educate 'illiterate' members of the congregation. They would often be adorned with Biblical stories or symbols intended to instruct people how to worship and behave.

Rose windows were sometimes used during the Romanesque period, but these windows were usually plain. It was not until the 12th century that complex stained glass and tracery decorations began to appear in rose windows.

In many churches, the rose window is located at the west end of the nave, in the end of the transepts.

Rose window is sometimes used as a generic term for a circular window.

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