Wiltshire Publications

New book released about Westbury’s colourful past

A new book entitled ‘The Westbury Window’, written by local man John Powell, has revealed extraordinary facts and previously hidden information about the stained glass window at The Laverton.

The book, which has  been edited by former town council development officer David Lawrence,  provides an interesting insight into the mind-set of a Victorian entrepreneur.

Author John Powell explains, “The window is housed in the east wall of the function room at the Laverton and has been in situ for over 140 years. Yet there is no record of anyone realising it contains an elaborate series of codes, ciphers, symbols, astronomical patterns, astrological graffiti and much more.

“As readers continue unravelling the mysteries of the past through ‘The Westbury Window’, they will see that it houses a number of controversies including; a new take on the Shakespearean authorship question; a mocking of the tragic Edwin Henry Landseer; harsh judgments of the self-obsessed Isaac Newton and James Watt; and an association with the castle of King Arthur, to name a few.

“The window’s designer was Abraham Laverton and he employed some simple methods to conceal the secrets therein.  By inverting images he disguised everyday objects and by making images very small he made it difficult to see what they were from ground level.

“He probably hoped that his secrets would be outed one at a time as he abided at Farleigh Hungerford Castle in the last ten years or so of his life.  However he had done too good a job and between 1873 and 2013 his cover-up was a resounding success.”

John explained that the window was more than just a piece of fine art and the symbolism used was more than just coincidence.

“There accumulated so many extraordinary insights into the world of Abraham Laverton that documenting the main sections in the form of a book was inevitable,”said John.  “That said, some of the more remarkable sections have yet to be covered at all and it is intended to produce a third book to deal with the mathematics of  this amazing window.”

‘The Westbury Window: Unravelling a Victorian Entrepreneur’ is available on Amazon, WHSmith online and from Westbury Visitor Centre at a discounted price of £15 (normal price £27.99).

John Powell is a retired teacher and has been living in Wiltshire for more than 12 years. He has written many articles for local newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and newsletters on issues as varied as the Life of St. Fionntain of Ard Caoin (the story of an eighth century Irish prince in internal exile) to the electronic espionage practised by Bomber Command during the Second World War.  For the last year he has been working on three books, the other two apart from this one being on travel that has been the great love of his life.