Bristol Cathedral Considers Removal of its Largest Stained Glass Window

Fig. 1. The window dedicated to Colston.

Fig. 1. The window dedicated to Colston.

Bristol Cathedral may take the significant step of removing the church’s largest stained glass window because of its links to Edward Colston, an official of the slave trading Royal African Company, who made much of his fortune directly and indirectly from the trade.

The dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev David Hoyle, told Christian radio station Premier that he was prepared to have a “conversation” about the idea of replacing the window, dedicated to Colston’s memory, in the light of calls within the city to end any celebration of the name of the merchant. He added, however, that doing so would be “difficult”, and very expensive. He noted, furthermore, that there was a fine balancing act needed between satisfying modern sensibilities about slavery, whilst preserving the Cathedral’s own history and that of the city.

Mr Hoyle said: “Colston was a major benefactor, a man of charity. He was also involved in a trade that wasn’t considered evil at the time, but we now know to be wicked. I think that’s a complicated conversation to have. This is a conversation the city is now having about the relationship of the city with its own past.”

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