Lancets of Clayton

I was walking through Clayton-le-Moors earlier in the autumn on my way to a meet a minister of the gospel at Great Harwood. I passed by the parish church, All Saints. Although it was locked up, and nineteenth-century constructions offer me little of interest, I was struck by the prominence and number of its lancet windows. A lancet is a long, narrow window with a pointed arch, common in the 1200s. Tall, thin and pointed makes it resemble a lance, the favoured knightly weapon of the period. It fell out of favour the centuries following when masons and glaziers wished to better demonstrate their craftsmanship, to which the plain lancet offered limited opportunity.

There is something remarkable about a window named after a weapon. In this world of darkness, it is not programmes, violence, debates or mere goodwill that we need, but light. Light is the best weapon we have, for it dissipates darkness and ignorance and affords us an awareness of things hitherto unknown.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:4-5