Archive item of the week : The Charterhouse Connection

Welcome to Archive item of the week:  where we delve into Guildford Cathedral Archives to highlight sine if the unique items within the collection.


This week: The Charterhouse Connection.  Our People’s Cathedral Archivist takes a rare look at the connection between the Cathedral and Charterhouse School resulting in the Charterhouse Window.


Within Guildford Cathedral there are a notable number of dedicated windows which are beautiful and fascinating to look at and it is fascinating to learn that there is a whole wealth of information regarding them in the Cathedral Archives.

The focus here is the connection between Guildford Cathedral and Charterhouse School.  Preceding the dedication of the Window there were already strong connections between Charterhouse School and the Cathedral.  For example during the period 1937-1939 the Charterhouse Architectural Society was involved in a project using the building work and an album was created which records progress of the building work.  AL Irvine, master of Charterhouse was heavily involved in the building of the Cathedral in the 1950s after his retirement from the School.  The connection was deep between the two institutions so it was only natural that this should be reflected in the building


The commission for the Charterhouse window was in 1955 which places it as one of the earlier windows to be commissioned.  The window was designed and created by Rosemary Rutherford who was the sister of the School Chaplin for Charterhouse – Canon John Rutherford.

Image courtesy of Adrian Esdaile


Within the archive collection we have fascinating correspondence regarding the commission and the talks between the school and the Cathedral’s architect Sir Edward Maufe.  The letters demonstrate the vision that Maufe had regarding the light in the Cathedral – he wished the Guildford to be a Cathedral filled with light – and it is clear in the correspondence that he had concerns about the light levels within the Cathedral as a result of this new window.


The Charterhouse Window was dedicated in 30 October 1955 by the Bishop of Guildford and was officially unveiled by the Headmaster of Charterhouse School, with the Old Carthusians who had help fund the window in attendance as well as current Carthusians.

Planning for the Service seating

Within the Cathedral we have an original copy of the Order of Service for the Dedication, alongside correspondence relating to the organisation and planning of the service.