Chapter 3 The later changes to the Master Scheme

The insertion of the stained glass windows

Figure 3.1 shows the sequence of insertion of the stained glass windows.

Figure 3.1. The sequence of insertion of the stained glass windows.

At the Cathedral’s consecration in 1887, sixteen windows had been inserted in the areas of the retro-quire, main transepts and baptistry. A further fourteen windows were inserted in these areas between 1887 and 1897 when building was suspended.

As the nave and central tower neared completion in 1902, the number of donors increased and twenty-nine windows were inserted by 1908. By then, the remaining windows of the quire aisles and transepts were all in place, as well as the west end and most of the nave aisle windows.

By the time of the completion of the western towers and the Benediction of the complete cathedral in 1910, only eight windows of the new cathedral remained in plain glass. This excluded the clerestory lights and the north quire transept, all of which remain as plain glass today. With the insertion of a further six nave windows by 1913 all the current windows of the cathedral were in place except for north nave aisle windows n28 and n29, which were not inserted until 1938. Similarly all the stained windows of St Mary’s aisle were in place by 1908 except for the right light of SMs8, which was not finally inserted until 1959. Two windows of this aisle remain as plain glass to this day.

The Church History sequence and the 1887 Master Scheme

After its publication of the 1887, most of the later modifications to the Master Scheme were of the Church History sequence. The 1887 Master Scheme set out the position of each of the one hundred and eight historical figures (plus two allegorical figures of Faith and Hope) in the Christian Church History sequence which was to fill the lower windows of the retro-quire, north transept and nave aisles:90

In the retro-choir will be the Apostles, or companions and contemporaries of the same, mentioned in the Apostolic writings. … The series is continued with the Apostolic Saints and Martyrs from the close of the first century, with typical martyrs, missionaries, doctors, confessors of East and West, Britain, England, and Cornwall, carrying us through Primitive times, the days of Celtic Christianity, the conversion of the English, the mediæval ages of the Church, the reformation period, representing the missionary labours of modern times, the worthies of the latter English Church, poets, apologists, evangelists, missionaries, pastors, concluding with the figure of Edward White Benson, first Bishop of the restored See, and founder of the Cathedral.91

The didactic intention of this immense scheme was immediately recognised by a contemporary comment a contemporary comment in the Church Times

The scheme for the windows is too diversified to be dull and the originators of it cannot be accused of narrowness or lack of the appreciative faculty … When the aisles are built and thus illustrated, the chapter of Truro will not lack material for Christian history lectures.92

The extent of this amazingly ambitious scheme is shown in Figure 3.2 which is based on the final version of the Scheme of 1902. It shows how the persons chosen to represent the development of the Christian Church Christ were distributed over the nineteen centuries from the commission to Peter to the laying of the Truro foundation stone. For this analysis, all the persons in the Scheme are located in their most appropriate century and their geographical area.

Figure 3.2. The temporal and geographical distribution of persons in the Scheme of 1902.
Series 1Palestine and Jerusalem.
Series 2The Latin and Western Church.
Series 3The Greek and Eastern Church.
Series 4The English Church.
Series 5The Cornish Church.

Figure 3.2 illustrates how Mason combined the representatives of the development of Christianity into one chronological narrative. It also shows how the geographical focus changed over time: how firstly the Church in the Holy Land, then the Eastern Church and later, after the Reformation, the Latin Western Church gradually gave way in the sequence to the development of the post-Reformation Church of England and the Church in Cornwall, with its culmination in the foundation of Truro Cathedral.

The fulfillment of Benson’s vision by Mason, Worlledge and Collins

Only one window of the Church History sequence, s2, was in place for the consecration in 1887, and progress was slow in the following years: n2 in 1888, n3 in 1889 and n11, s3 and s4 in 1891 and finally n23 in 1895.

Arthur John Worlledge

Mason’s pivotal role in implementing the Master Scheme was already acknowledged by Bishop Wilkinson in April 1887. With Wilkinson’s illness and subsequent resignation, Mason became the dominant figure in the development of the Master Scheme for the next twenty years. In 1890, Mason wrote the following to Canon Chancellor Worlledge after his visit to Clayton and Bell to inspect the designs for the Bolitho windows s34:

Do I understand you to mean that the Chapter wish for the future to see the cartoons for all the windows that are to be put up,—or of this one specially? Hitherto [author’s emphasis] I have always acted as a kind of deputy and have inspected both the cartoons and the glass before they have been dispatched. If the Chapter wishes for the future to have the cartoons sent to Truro, I may as well save myself the trouble of going to Clayton and Bell to inspect.93

This establishes without doubt both that Mason had replaced Pearson and the Bishop as the sole contact in London between the Cathedral Chapter and Clayton and Bell’s studio at 311 Regent Street, and that he had been closely involved in both the design and manufacturing process for some years. The rather peeved tone of Mason’s letter had the desired effect, and the Executive Committee replied immediately on behalf of the Chapter that The Chancellor was requested to convey the thanks of the Chapter to Canon Mason for his continued supervision [author’s emphasis] of the execution of the windows.94

From then onwards there is very little direct evidence of Chapter involvement other than formalising decisions that had been made between Mason and Chancellor Worlledge. For example, Clayton and Bell wrote to Chancellor Worlledge in 1902 about placement of the order for windows n245, n34 and s24:- As soon as we are in receipt of the formal order we can approach Canon Mason upon the subject and ask for any suggestions he may wish to make for our guidance.95 Similarly, after John Loughborough Pearson’s death in 1897, the only references to his son Frank’s involvement are that window and statuary designs were sent to him for approval after Mason’s contribution.

For twenty years the evolution of the window scheme was therefore in the hands of Mason and Chancellor Worlledge.96 Like Benson and Mason, Worlledge was committed to the Anglo-Catholic cause:-

He was a theologian of national reputation, and was Select Preacher at Cambridge on no less than seven occasions. He was firmly committed to the Catholic cause and was well-versed in liturgical studies. He kept himself fully informed on contemporary controversies and was guide, philosopher and friend to the Catholic clergy of Cornwall.97
William Edward Collins

Before considering the changes to the scheme in detail, this is perhaps the place to identify the role played by a third member of Mason’s circle. In his obituary to Richard Clayton in 1913, Canon Worlledge referred to William Collins, Bishop of Gibraltar, as an important figure in the formation of the Master Scheme.98 William Collins spent part of his boyhood years in Truro, where Mason prepared him for confirmation in 1879.99 Mason was also responsible for securing Collins’ admission to Selwyn College in 1884, and in 1889 he examined Collins for his scholarship in Ecclesiastical History.100 Collins served as curate at All Hallows Barking with Mason, where he was based at Mason’s London address of 7 Trinity Square. When he was only 26 years old Collins was appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History at King’s College, London. On returning to London in 1893, William Collins’ connection with All Hallows Barking was resumed.101 He was again licensed to the church and was a resident member of the house in Trinity Square.102 It was to remain his base until his appointment as Bishop of Gibraltar ten years later. Collins and Mason thus had a deep professional relationship and were together in London when the 1887 Master Scheme was extensively modified. This was the reason why Worlledge included Collins as one of those closely involved in the formulation and modification of the Church History sequence. Sadly, Collins died an early death, and he was commemorated in s1617, the last of Truro’s windows to be inserted before 1914 and the last to be supervised by his mentor, Canon Mason.

Changes to the 1887 Master Scheme

In charting the different drafts to the Church History sequence in the Master Scheme between 1887 and 1913, various questions are raised:- to what extent was the 1887 Master Scheme altered, who was responsible for the alterations, and what were the reasons why some of the original subjects were deleted from subsequent schemes and new ones included? Between the 1887 Scheme and the final completed scheme of the windows in 1913 there were four further schemes or drafts. In 1896, a few months before Benson’s death, Mason revisited the Master Scheme and suggested major modifications to Chapter.103 In 1902 as the nave reached completion he produced three further drafts in quick succession. The correspondence between Mason and Worlledge reveals that most of the alterations were suggested by Mason, although there are significant additions in Worlledge’s handwriting to Mason’s drafts.104

The extent of the changes is revealed in the pie-chart in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3. Variations to the 1887 Master Scheme. Of the one hundred and ten subjects in the 1887 Master Scheme:
  1. Forty-four (40%) were eventually inserted in their positions designated in the 1887 Scheme.
  2. A further forty-two (38%) were inserted but moved to a different position to that indicated in the 1887 Scheme.
  3. Twenty-four subjects (22%) were deleted from the 1887 Scheme and replaced by new subjects.
Full details of these modifications are in Appendix 2.

The earliest modifications

The first modifications to the Church History sequence of the Master Scheme occurred as early as 1890:-

I should like to say that I have slightly altered the list of subjects since printed the account of the Cathedral. I ought perhaps to have put the proposed alterations formally before the Chapter.105

It is significant that in this letter Mason refers to my original scheme [author’s emphasis]: thus within three years of the publication of the Master Scheme, Mason had already claimed ownership of it. It is also significant that as early as 1890 Mason was by-passing the Cathedral Chapter and dealing directly with Worlledge. He felt that, in the north quire aisle, the crisis of the conversion of the Empire need more recognition.106 So he proposed cutting out the designated n12 (Jerome, Ephraim Syrus and Leo) and inserting a new n9 of Helena attended by Origen and St Athanase, with the Invention of the Cross as the predella. The subjects of remaining three lancets in the Master Scheme were all moved to a position one light westwards. This proved to be the only major modification of the subjects in the 1887 Master Scheme for the whole of the retro-quire, quire aisles and the north transept: there were two subsequent minor changes to the details of two predellas.

The modifications of 1896

Although seven of the north quire and transept windows remained to be filled in 1896, Mason was obviously satisfied that, with the changes that he had made in 1890, no further modifications were necessary to the Scheme in the part of the cathedral that was already built. In addition to the quire and transepts, the first two bays of the nave had been built by 1887 for structural reasons before construction ceased, and this enabled the Chirgwin memorial window n23 to be inserted in 1895 (Chapter 12). It was to the remaining eighteen lancets in the nave that Mason turned his attention in 1896, resulting in his presentation to Chapter of a new version of the Master Scheme.

I wish, however, to lay before you a readjustment of two windows in the nave. I have never been quite happy about them; and after much planning last summer I think I could suggest some useful changes.107

His correspondence with Worlledge gives a marvellous insight into his attempts to maintain the overarching framework for the nave Scheme, whilst at the same time producing a theological and historic coherence to the group of three figures in each individual lancet. One invaluable feature of his 1896 scheme is that it is the only example in any of Mason’s drafts where his principles underlying the grouping of the three subjects in each lancet are explicit. Mason refers to them as ‘speaking groups’, and it is obvious that it was Mason’s intention (and Benson’s) that each window should be interpreted as a coherent grouping in its own right as well as being part of a multi-layered chronological sequence.

Comparison between the 1887 Master Scheme and the 1896 modifications108 reveals a number of the subjects were changed and new figures added. It cannot be a coincidence that discussions over these changes took place when William Collins, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, was at Mason’s old London residence in the summer of 1895. In many respects such discussions must have been similar to those of Benson and Mason in Truro fifteen years earlier when the Master Scheme was in its earliest stages.109 (For the following summary, the original spellings of names in the 1887 Master Scheme have been retained). In the pre-Reformation windows St Aldhelm was replaced by Kenstec; Alexander Newski by Joan of Arc; Thomas Canterbury and Hugh of Lincoln by Edward Ⅰ and Bishop Grosseteste; Bishop Fisher by Thomas More; John Trevisa by Wycliffe and St Theresa by Fenalon. The reasons for these changes will be discussed when each window is analysed in detail (Chapter 12).

However, it was in the post-Reformation sequence that the most fundamental changes were proposed. Mason’s preference was as follows:-

I do not feel satisfied to cut out foreign Protestantism altogether, so long as foreign Romanism (post-Reformation) is not represented. It looks as if we thought that defective organisation was a less pardonable thing than grave doctrinal (and practical) errors. I should like therefore to insert some carefully chosen figures to represent foreign Protestantism—at any rate where it had come into close connexion with the English church.110

Mason was obviously prepared for Chapter to reject this proposal, so he followed it up with an alternate proposal:

If this is not done, I should then propose to limit the later windows to (solely) English figures. I think the companying list will explain itself, and I should like to have your opinion upon it.

His new draft of the post-Reformation windows shows his preference for the inclusion of foreign Protestant figures: Las Casas is replaced by Schwartz, Carlo Borremeo with Casulson, whilst Palestrina and Handel were included in place of Cowper and Keble. One nave lancet group now included Charles Ⅰ: In one instance I thought we were wrong in Cornwall to exclude Charles Ⅰ, though he is not a favourite of mine.111 These changes remained as a draft on Chapter’s table, and the matter lapsed until the nave was nearing its finished state in 1901–2, when the need for a final decision on the nave scheme was imperative.

The modifications of 1902

After the Chirgwin memorial window n23 had been inserted in 1895, no further window insertions were possible in the nave during the second phase of cathedral building between 1898 and 1903. However, during this period all the remaining windows of the north quire aisle and the north transept were inserted according to the modified scheme of 1896. Also the six lancets beneath the north transept rose window were inserted following Mason’s suggestions of an extension of the genealogical scheme (Chapter 5).

By the beginning of 1902, Mason turned his attentions once again to modifying the Church History sequence in the main nave aisles. As the nave neared completion, the need to resolve the question of the post-Reformation sequence was critical, and Mason had refined his views to a scheme which excluded all foreign subjects. On 5th January 1902, he wrote to Worlledge:

… I will, in a few days, send you a revised scheme for the nave windows; but I will at once tell you on what principle I propose to form it. I cannot help thinking that it was a mistake on my part to include any names of foreigners in communion with Rome since the great break-up, when no names are mentioned of foreigners belonging to Reformed communities … At the same time, the number of persons who might actually be represented would be far too large if we attempted to include persons from all foreign churches and communities. I think therefore it would be wisest and most satisfactory to do as Lightfoot and Westcott did with the windows at Trinity, and admit no figures subsequent to the Reformation except those members of the English Church.112

Based on these important principles, the new draft113 which was sent on 9th January 1902 still included the earlier St Hilda group in s16. The main innovation was the insertion of a Queen Victoria window at n33 next to the final Benson window in the sequence.

This will give us room to introduce one trio of a date between that of Wesley and that of Benson, and therefore I suggest that the westernmost window of the south range (which I gather is a single light) should be the one to contain the Wesleys and Samuel Walker.114

The positioning of the Wesley window was obviously a matter of delicacy (s24 in Chapter 12).

The draft of 9th January is written in Mason’s hand with Worlledge’s added alterations, and affords a fascinating insight into the relationship between the two. It was Worlledge’s suggestion to remove the St Hilda group from s16. This necessitated moving a number of windows from their proposed position in one aisle to the other, but the final chronology and broad outline of the nave Scheme was now in place.

Mason had now settled the place for Charles Ⅰ in s23:

In the window with Charles Ⅰ and George Herbert, I propose to place Sir John Eliot. Considering the history of Cornwall, I do not think that Charles ought to be omitted, as he was in the first scheme; but it would be a good thing to represent, in one light, the reconciliation of all that he represents with so fine a specimen of the opposing view as Sir John Eliot—as good a Cornishman as Sir Bevil Grenville in the next light.115

With the death of Queen Victoria and the birth of a new century, Mason obviously felt that the nineteenth century was under-represented in the original Master Scheme. An interesting alternative for the Henry Martyn lancet n31 was to remove Keble and Maurice—I propose to place Livingstone and Selwyn. The three would represent, with picturesque variety, the expansion of England and of the Church of England—India, Africa and New Zealand.116 Worlledge’s written addition showed that to have a whole lancet devoted to nineteenth-century missionaries did not meet with either his or Chapter’s approval (n31 in Chapter 12).

Another discussion took place over the Queen Victoria window (n33 in Chapter 12).

Next to Benson, I think we ought to have Queen Victoria for the chief figure: and I thought we might just put her with her two Cornishmen, or half Cornishmen—J.C. Adams, who already has a monument in the Cathedral, and C. Kingsley. I admit that Kingsley is not quite great enough for the place if he were not partly Cornish, or Cornish enough to satisfy his selection on that ground; but he represents a great deal of what is most characteristic of 19th Century work. I cannot think of any genuine Cornishman who would do well for the purpose.117

Further discussions must have ensued, for another draft 118 entitled ‘finally revised list 25th March 1902’ showed that Keble and Maurice were retained in the Martyn window and Livingstone and Gordon were now the other components of the Queen Victorian ‘speaking group’. Catherine of Siena had been swapped for Innocent Ⅲ from the Dante window s19 to the Joan of Arc window n27, where Joan was now the main figure. Thomas à Kempis was now the main figure in s20 and John Huss became one of the subsidiary subjects.

This was the ‘final version’119 which Revd AB Donaldson printed in his volume celebrating the first twenty-five years of the Diocese.120 There are however a number of inaccuracies in his version of the Master Scheme, suggesting that his revision of the original 1887 version was done without due care and attention. For example, the north transept rose N13 still contains nine Old Testament figures that were not included in the final glazing in 1887 (Chapter 4) and the southeast quire transept S4 still referred to the inclusion of the Annunciation to the Shepherds which had been discarded in 1897 (Chapter 7). Livingstone and Gordon were still listed for the Victorian window.

Within a few months Chapter had resolved the problem of the Victoria window by replacing Livingstone with Lord Tennyson, and the predella scene of the 1897 Jubilee (listed in both the ‘final draft’ and Donaldson) was changed at the last moment to the scene of the young Victoria receiving news of her accession. Discussions with the donor took place in April 1903, during which it was suggested that this window was a more suitable gift than the proposed outdoor pulpit, and presumably the final design was agreed at that date.121 The finished window was inserted in July 1903.122

A further footnote to the Mason/Worlledge relationship

Two further examples illustrate Mason’s close working relationship with Worlledge, and his involvement with the evolution of the whole of the Cathedral’s fittings and furnishings. As we have just seen, with the completion of the nave approaching in 1902, discussions on the final version of the window schemes were coming to a head. So too was the question of the statuary for the south porch and the interior and exterior of the west face, and here again Mason was a major influence. The plans for the subjects of the statuary are all in Mason’s handwriting. The finalisation of subjects for the statuary of west porch, west gable, south porch, west interior gallery, vacant niches in the baptistry and transept was agreed by the Executive Committee on 1st June 1902:

The Committee have held four meetings and in preparation of the scheme which they now offer for acceptance, have received most valuable assistance from Canon AJ Mason DD which they desire very cordially to acknowledge.123

Interestingly, Mason then produced his further revision of the statuary scheme a month later on 1st July 1902!124

The second example is from a letter of 1904 from Mason to Chancellor Worlledge in which he gives his views on how a legacy of £500 from Freobell might be spent:-

It is very difficult for me to judge about the Freobell gift. I should very much like to see the aisle series of windows completed, but they are pretty sure to be completed by a succession of smaller gifts. How would it be to make a beginning with the clerestory—say the S. Transept? I do not think that I should care to see a choir screen, unless it carried with it return stalls, and those, I think, are impossible. One idea which occurs to me is this: I wonder whether for the money it would be possible to procure a picture sufficiently good to be hung, say, above the pulpit. It would be a chance if one could find a nice piece of old Italian or Flemish work that happened to come into the market. Or it might even be worth while spending the money upon a good modern copy of an old famous picture. Or—though the thing would be risky—a painter might be found who would do an original picture for such a purpose: it is probable the small demand for modern church pictures which makes the artists turn in other directions. I do not quite know where in the choir you could effectively hang a piece of tapestry, and £500 would not procure a large piece; but here is nothing more decorative and nothing more characteristic of old English custom.125

This letter in its entirety illustrates the easy collaborative relationship that had been built up between the two over more than fifteen years when so many aspects of the cathedral’s fixtures and fittings were decided. This is all the more remarkable considering that Mason rarely visited Truro after 1890, being resident either in London, Canterbury or Cambridge for all this time. It is surely fitting that the memorial brasses to Mason and Worlledge are side by side in the south quire aisle.


  1. TC: pp 44–50.
  2. TC: pp 47–8.
  3. The Church Times 2nd November 1887.
  4. CCRO TCM/1049/1 Letter from Canon Mason 6th November 1890 (7. Trinity Square) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  5. CCRO TCM/1134 Executive Committee minutes 10th November 1890.
  6. CCRO TCM/546/6 Letter 4th July, 1902 from Clayton & Bell (311. Regent St., London) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  7. Memorial brasses to both of them are side by side under window s3 in the south quire aisle.
  8. H Keast The Catholic Revival in Cornwall 1833–1983, Helston, 1984, p. 9.
  9. CCRO TDM 1913 :28.
  10. Mason 2 p 2
  11. Mason 2 p 3–4.
  12. NCA DD/716/69/5 and 6 Canon Mason’s diaries: there are over twenty references to William Collins between 1889 and 1892.
  13. Mason 2 p 21.
  14. CCRO TCM 1049/3 Letter from Canon Mason 25th June 1896 (Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  15. CCRO TCM/1134 and TCM/546 correspondence dated 1890–6 and 1902.
  16. CCRO TCM/1049/1 Letter from Canon Mason 6th November 1890 (7. Trinity Square) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  17. CCRO TCM/1049/1 Letter from Canon Mason 6th November 1890 (7. Trinity Square) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  18. CCRO TCM 1049/3 Letter from Canon Mason 25th June 1896 (Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  19. CCRO TCM 1049/3 Letter from Canon Mason 25th June 1896 (Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge and CCRO TCM 1134/10 undated list with Worlledge’s pencilled comments.
  20. NCA DD/716/75 Letters from Bishop Benson to Canon Mason /91 (1881) and /113 (12th December 1882).
  21. CCRO TCM/1049/3 Letter from Canon Mason 25th June 1896 (Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  22. CCRO TCM/1049/3 Letter from Canon Mason 25th June 1896 (Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  23. CCRO TCM 546/1 Letter 5th January 1902 from Canon Mason (The Precincts, Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  24. CCRO TCM 546/2 Letter 9th January 1902 Letter from Canon Mason (The Precincts, Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  25. CCRO TCM 546/1 Letter 5th January 1902 from Canon Mason (The Precincts, Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  26. CCRO TCM 546/3 Letter 28th January 1902 from Canon Mason (32. Jesus Lane, Cambridge) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  27. CCRO TCM 546/3 Letter 28th January 1902 from Canon Mason (32. Jesus Lane, Cambridge) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  28. CCRO TCM 546/3 Letter 28th January 1902 from Canon Mason (32. Jesus Lane, Cambridge) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  29. CCRO TCM/546/12.
  30. CCRO TCM/546/12.
  31. ABD: Appendix Ⅴ, pp. 387–396.
  32. CCRO TCM/434 Cathedral Local building minutes 11/4/1903—suggestion made to the donor of a proposed outdoor pulpit that the donation should be for Victoria window instead: agreed by donor.
  33. CCRO TCM/436 Executive Committee minutes 11th July 1903, window in place.
  34. CCRO TCM525 Minutes of the Executive sub-committee on statuary, 1st June 1902.
  35. CCRO TCM525 Minutes of the Executive sub-committee on statuary, 1st June 1902. CCRO TCM546/4 Letter 7/4/1902 from Canon Mason (The Precincts, Canterbury) to Chancellor Worlledge.
  36. CCRO TCM/919 Letter from Mason to Chancellor Worlledge 1st April 1904.