Fairford church (Glos.), dedicated in honour of the Virgin Mary, is first mentioned in the 11th cent. The church was largely rebuilt at the end of the 15th cent. The fabric was completed around 1497 by John Tame, whose tomb stands in the usual position of a founder's tomb on the north side of the chancel. The wonder of the church is its medieval glass, which survives from all twenty-eight windows in the church. The windows are devoted to the life of Christ; the prophets, apostles, evangelists, and doctors; and the Last Judgement. Throughout the scheme the central importance of the Virgin is stressed, as is appropriate in a church dedicated to her. The glass early attracted antiquarian interest, which included speculations that it had been designed by Dürer. Modern study of the glass has confirmed that the designer was indeed a foreigner, probably Master Adrian van den Houte of Mechlin, who was also concerned with the early glass in King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Because of the affinities of the Fairford glass to other royal projects, and also because of the scale of the undertaking, with four designers and at least twelve glaziers, it is suggested that the glass was actually made under royal patronage after the manor reverted to the crown in 1499, and was probably completed between 1500 and 1517.
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