The Church Windows
We were recently in Wales on holiday and had occasion to visit St John Evangelist-Rhydymwyn in the course of a
personal project, cataloguing and recording the windows of my great-grandfather Thomas John Grylls's stained
glass firm, Burlison & Grylls, to which are attributed several of St John's windows.

Eventually we hope that the project may result in something a bit more concrete, like a small publication on the firm
that we can circulate to all the churches involved (current total, just in this country, to date is 740 different locations,
and growing), and a formal catalogue and hopefully all the pictures on a website, but that's still some way ahead.

St John Evangelist is a well-kept and atmospheric church set in mid-Flintshire, a John Loughborough Pearson work
from 1860-63; its windows of unusual themes are in pristine condition.

What has been particularly interesting about the Rhydymwyn windows is researching the connection with the  
Yorkshire Wolds where there are a series of churches which are part of the 'Sykes Churches Trail',
(for more information on this click
Here ).

The Sir Tatton Sykes were avid restorers and builders of churches, a score of them, in that area.
Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th Bt used Pearson as an architect and decorator quite a lot,
and put a lot of work Burlison and Grylls way.

So it was fascinating to find the Tatton Sykes connection with St John's Rhydymwyn-
Emma Julia Davies-Cooke née Sykes, who is mentioned in two of the windows,being the daughter of
Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th Bt and married to Philip Davies-Cooke the builder of Rhydymwyn Church.

(Pearson eventually went on to build the cathedral in Brisbane, Australia)
-
Peter Moore /July 2012

Burlison & Grylls, 1868-1953
John Burlison 1843-1891 and  Thomas John Grylls 1845-1913 met as apprentices in the firm of Clayton & Bell, one
of the largest and most 'commercial' of the Victorian stained glass window originators. Burlison’s father was personal
assistant to the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, and his sister married Alfred Bell. Thomas Grylls’ father was a
manager for the organ builders Walker. In other words, both had promising connections, and these they exploited
when, in 1868, with the encouragement of the architect G F Bodley, they set up their own stained glass firm off
Oxford Street, London.
The consolidation of their partnership by John Burlison’s marriage to Elizabeth Sarah Grylls in 1870, and the large
families with which both were blessed are sufficient testimony to the success of the firm over the following decades.
Most of their work appears to have come from the architects who were busy restoring the medieval parish churches
scattered throughout England, G F Bodley, G E Street, Gilbert Scott father and son. As business expanded, they
were able to undertake a variety of tasks involving restoration and decoration, mainly of chancel and sanctuary
areas and often working to an architect’s specifications, as well as gaining a reputation for good quality restoration
of old glass and a delicate and restrained style in their own glass. From the early days John Burlison appears to
have run the administrative side of the business: Thomas John Grylls was responsible for most of the designing, and
appears to have gathered about him a small caucus of craftsmen, each with their own particular speciality, and
eventually supplemented by his own talented children.
After Burlison’s death in 1891, Grylls’ eldest son Thomas Henry (Harry) took over the administration: himself
talented as an heraldic artist, he was thus able to continue the firm after his father’s death in 1913, though his
designs leant heavily upon his father’s tradition, and responded particularly to the demand for war memorials.
Latterly business declined, and the WW2 bombing of their Great Ormond Street premises effectively brought
closure. To date, the work of Burlison & Grylls is largely undocumented: records appear to have been lost, and the
windows were unsigned: thus an accurate and complete compilation is virtually impossible.











.
I am very grateful to Peter Moore for his extensive research and the following photographs and
information which he has supplied with regard to the Church Windows at Rhydymwyn
St John Evangelist, interior.
East window. 3 lights + 3 tracery quatrefoils.-
Archangel Michael vanquishing the dragon;
St Philip.
Tracery: Paschal Lamb in upper quatrefoil;
Censing angels in lower quatrefoils-
IM Philip Bryan Davies-Cooke,
2.3.1832-29.9.1903, by his wife and children.
Burlison & Grylls, c.1904.
East window, Detail of tracery quatrefoils.
Censing angels.
Burlison & Grylls, c.1904.
East window,
Detail of tracery upper quatrefoil.
Paschal Lamb.
Burlison & Grylls, c.1904.
East window. Detail of central light.
Archangel Michael vanquishing the dragon.
Burlison & Grylls, c.1904.
Chancel north. 2 lights + tracery quatrefoil.
St Garmon, bishop
[Harmon/Garmon/Germanus of Auxerre];
St David, bishop.
Tracery quatrefoil of Paschal Lamb
surrounded by Evangelists' symbols.-
IM Rev. James Jones, first vicar,
18.12.1827-6.5.1909,
by friends and parishioners.-
Burlison & Grylls, c1909.
Chancel north.
Detail of tracery quatrefoil of Paschal Lamb
surrounded by Evangelists' symbols.-
Burlison & Grylls, c1909.
Chancel north.  Detail: St Garmon, bishop
[Harmon/Garmon/Germanus of Auxerre].-
Burlison & Grylls, c1909.
Chancel north.  Detail: St David, bishop.
Burlison & Grylls, c1909..
Nave south 3. 2 lights + quatrefoil tracery. The
finding of Moses in the bulrushes, 'Them that
are meek shall he guide in judgement' (Psalm
25:9);
Boaz and Ruth in the wheatfield,
'And such as are gentle, them shall he learn
his way'.
Quatrefoil tracery: Paraclete between angels. -
IM Emma Julia Davies-Cooke,
13.8.1837-7.10.1907, and of her daughters
Mildred Emily, 1.12.1869-17.9.1910, and
Helena Frances Anna, 17.12.1874-14.3.1919.-
Burlison & Grylls, 1920.
Nave south 3.  
Detail: The finding of Moses in the bulrushes,
'Them that are meek shall he guide in
judgement' (Psalm 25:9).
Burlison & Grylls, 1920.
Nave south 3.
Detail: Boaz and Ruth in the wheatfield,
'And such as are gentle,
them shall he learn his way'.-
Burlison & Grylls, 1920.
Nave south 3.
Detail of quatrefoil tracery:
Paraclete between angels.-
Burlison & Grylls, 1920.
Nave north 1. 2 lights + tracery quatrefoil.
Presentation in the Temple. Nunc Dimittis,
'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace'.
Tracery quatrefoil: Virgin and child between angels.-
IM Arthur Troughton Roberts, 28.11.1815-3.4.1893
and Grace his wife, 23.5.1829-21.4.1907,
erected by their sons.-
Burlison & Grylls, 1907.


Nave north Detail of tracery quatrefoil:
Virgin and child between angels.-
Burlison & Grylls, 1907.
Nave north
Detail: Presentation in the Temple:
Nunc Dimittis.- Burlison & Grylls, 1907.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them