Arts & Crafts

The Arts & Crafts’ Movement began in the 1860s as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution in England, in which the mechanistic view of the world, the division of labour and the disconnect from Nature were crippling the souls of men.

The socio-political philosopher and writer, John Ruskin (1819-1900) had a major influence on this Movement intellectually and aesthetically, inspiring such giants as William Morris (1834-1896), the designers Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) whose legacy still continues in our church building today.

The social reformer William Morris had a belief in simplicity and beauty and community, and the value of naturalistic design and hand craftsmanship; he set up his own design company and was influential in the setting up of the Art Workers’ Guild (1884), the Garden City movement, and experimental education (Dartington Hall) as well as inspiring the future National Trust. The pioneers in this Movement advocated a return to the beauty of Nature, the preservation of national traditions in design and building. The simultaneous Pre-Raphaelite movement championed the return to the art and symbolism of the medieval chivalric period, the designs appearing in the crafts of tapestry, woodwork, stained glass and metalwork in particular, much of which can be seen in the Victoria & Albert museum today.

“The Cathedral of the Arts & Craft Movement”


This was the same time as the birth of the Oxford Movement which sought a revival of Catholic thought and practice within the life of the Church of England. The coming together of all these fertile ideas was to lead to new aesthetics in architecture, design and illustration, as well as the social ideas of the fraternity of Man and the growth of Friendly Societies and Unions, leading also to a call for universal suffrage. Such were the potent ideas of this Movement that they spread widely throughout Europe and America, the influence of which was not just in the 20th century but still alive today.