Gilbert White stained glass, Selborne: The beautiful tribute to a pioneering naturalist

Gilbert White's home church contains a fascinating memorial to the writer.

One can only admire the man who, at a time when fellow researchers preferred to dissect cold specimens, discovered the distinction between the chiffchaff, willow warbler and wood warbler through rapt attention to birdsong — Revd Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne (1789) remains influential.

Its author is remembered in the Church of St Mary, where he was curate, by two glorious stained-glass windows. One, dating from 1920, shows St Francis preaching to birds, all of which are mentioned in White’s writings.

St Francis preaching to the birds, a memorial window in Selborne Church to commemorate the bicentenary of Gilbert White’s birth.

The other, installed in 1993 (and shown at the top of the page), is scattered with flora and fauna; look closely to spot his pet tortoise.

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