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Church News

Stained glass window honouring WW1 Poet Wilfred Owen installed in local church

by Premier Journalist

A beautiful stained glass window has found its place of honour within All Saints Church in Dunsden Green, Oxfordshire, as a touching tribute to the renowned World War One poet, Wilfred Owen, who spent his formative years in this area.

The inspiration for the piece derives from Owen's moving poem "Deep Under Turfy Grass," penned in response to a tragic accident in 1912.

During his time in Dunsden Green, Wilfred Owen was a young man of 18 to 20 years.

While he is most celebrated for his poignant poems depicting the horrors of World War One, encompassing trench life and gas warfare, Owen's connection to Dunsden Green is significant.

In 1911, he arrived in the village to serve as a lay assistant to the vicar, and a year later, he assisted in the heart-wrenching funerals of a mother and child tragically killed in a horse-and-cart accident.

The profound impact of this tragedy led Owen to create the touching poem 'Deep Under Turfy Grass,' which served as the muse for the installation of this stained glass window, a symbol of remembrance and reverence.

The Oxford Diocese granted All Saints Church the permission to install, thanks to the diligent efforts of local residents who successfully conducted a fundraising campaign to make this heartfelt tribute possible.

"We want it to inspire people", said David Woodward, member of the committee of the Dundes Owen Association.

It includes text from that 'Deep Under Turfy Grass,' and it includes an extract from Revelation.

"We want people to be moved by the story of Wilfred Owen, which was a difficult one. He had something of a breakdown while he was in Dunston.

"And what happened was that he couldn't marry his his faith and his belief in supporting the suffering of the ordinary people that were living in that village with a very wealthy vicar, who was perhaps more interested in in some of the worldly aspects than he was in caring for his flock.

"So there is a difficult story behind it."

The window, celebrating his life and work, will be formally dedicated during a now sold-out ceremony on November 4th, commemorating the anniversary of his passing.

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