Return to Eden


In 2008 we decided it was time to move from Poole in Dorset on the south coast and relocate to the north. The purpose of the move was primarily to be nearer our families and then a job opportunity arose in the north which would mean less travelling for me me and Phil would also be in a position to pick up more restoration and church work at the Albion Glass studio. After much searching for the ideal place, we found Armathwaite and we knew without a doubt, this was where we wanted to be.

Phil started working  1 week in Cumbria and 3 weeks in Dorset while the house was on the market. Being 370 miles apart was difficult and so Phil painted a small watercolour incorporating themes of moving north to Armathwaite in the Eden Valley and returns to Eden as a focus for positive energy.

It took a year for the right house to find us. With all our ducks in a row and planets aligned, the house was finally sold and we began our own return to Eden.


Each year the swallows make their incredible long haul flight from Africa  and return to Eden, reminding us that summer is in its way. Last year we spotted the first to return on 12th April.


The river Eden is at the heart of Armathwaite and each year the salmon return to mate and spawn. I saw my first salmon leaping up the waterfall on my birthday in November 2009 which was the month we moved here.


A year later in 2010, we were fortunate to see dozens of wriggling elvers making their arduous pilgrimage up the Eden from their birth place in the Sargasso Sea. The water falls over an intrusion of igneous rock estimated to be 55.8 million years old.


On their journey the salmon and elvers pass through an ancient sandstone gorge with towering cliffs that have 5 faces, a salmon and a poem (a corruption of ‘The compleat angler’ by Izaak Walton 1653) carved into them. The carving of the poem is thought to be the work of a Victorian gentleman, William Mounsey and dated 1855. The faces are thought to be considerably earlier.


Trees are very close to Phil’s heart as you know! This one represents the first Eden.

And now it is finished and installed into the church. You can see ‘Spirit of the Eden 2015’ post for the preliminary design and start of the window.

10 thoughts on “Return to Eden

  1. Anne Cunningham

    wow Jane and Phil,
    the window looks amazing, and lovely to read your personal story of your return up north to your own Eden, I look forward to see it insitu with the sun streaming through to show off the colours and hues beautifully. Anne xx


    1. philandjane Post author

      Thanks Bunty. I was particularly keen that the glass remained “glassy” unlike heavily painted Victorian windows.The glass used in the construction of this panel is a combination of hand crafted artisan glass made by the English Antique Glass Company UK and Lamberts Glass of Germany. A video called ‘the art of making glass’ is available on YouTube and shows the process which has changed little since Medieval times.



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