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The Stained Glass Windows

 

The art and craft of stained glass has enriched cathedrals, parish churches and countless other ecclesiastical and secular buildings for more than one thousand years. Yet it is interesting to realize that stained glass did not exist before Christian times and that the art of stained glass is essentially a Christian art. In Christian churches, especially those of the Middle Ages, the windows were a visual teaching aid, where biblical stories were reenacted for the viewer in a veritable feast of glorious color and design. While the earliest stained glass was designed for Romanesque-style churches, it was with the advent of the Gothic-style of architecture that stained glass truly achieved its height as an art form. The Gothic Revival of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries brought with it a reexamination of the use of stained glass in churches and secular buildings. The earliest American figurative window now extant seems to have been placed in the chancel of Christ Church, Pelham, New York in 1844 and depicts the Adoration of the Magi. Upjohn planned stained glass windows for Trinity Church, Wall Street, and hired Abner Stephenson to manufacture the windows in a shed on site. Historical photographs show that the earliest stained glass windows at St. Mary's, perhaps from Upjohn's original designs, were simple "diamond panes." Some of these may have had a fleur de lis, a symbol of the Virgin Mary, in each diamond or lozenge.

 

The church's first pictorial stained glass windows were approved in 1893. The firm of Lavers & Westlake, London, was awarded the commission. Only a few of the windows survived the fire of 1976. The current windows replace the 1893 windows. All but two windows (in the south transept and one in the nave) were made by artists of the Willet Studio of Philadelphia.

 

In approving the illustrated stained glass windows for the New Church, the Vestry determined that the Nave windows should depict the events of the life of the Blessed Virgin connected with our Lord and that those in the Chancel should be representative of the clerical orders‚ÄĒbishops, priests and deacons.

 

Chancel

The East Wall: The window of the East Wall is a restoration of the third window in this location. The earlier window, created by a West Bloomfield, New Jersey studio in 1861, was dedicated to the Rev. G. W. Doane. The middle lancet featured the "Good Shepherd" with the Pastoral Commission to St. Peter above and the Deliverance of St. Peter from prison below. The side lancets contained symbols of Bishop Doane's authority and achievements. A second window, created by Clayton & Bell of London, was installed in 1924 and featured the Madonna and Christ Child. The present window is a reproduction of the 1924 window.

A. The Commission to the Eleven, in memory of Charles W. Stehlinger (1869-1947); originally in memory of the Rev. John Talbot, first Rector of St. Mary's.

B. The Institution of the Blessed Sacrament, in memory of Charles W. and Martha Allen Stehlinger; originally in memory of the Rev. Charles H. Wharton.

C. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen, in memory of Martha Allen Stehlinger (1864-1948); originally in memory of the Rev. Benjamin Davis Winslow.

 

Nave & Transepts

1. First Lancet: The Childhood of St. Mary, with her mother St. Anne. Second Lancet: The Espousals of St. Mary and St. Joseph. Memorial to Norman and Beulah Tomlinson Mathis.

2. First Lancet: The Annunciation. Second Lancet: The Visitation. Memorial to Ferdinand D. and Ruth R. Rose.

3. The Epiphany, in memory of Harold Haines Taylor (1919- 1980); original memorial to Brinton Coxe (1833-1892).

4. The Purification, in memory of Esther and Alonza Shinn and Alice R. Shinn; original memorial to Franklin Woolman (1814-1889).

5. The Flight into Egypt, in memory of Donald B. Duncan, Priest (1925-1978); original memorial to members of the Baquet family.

6. The Finding in the Temple, the "Community Window," dedicated to the friends of St. Mary's who aided the restoration; originally in memory of William Wilson (1818- 1897). This window is two-thirds original.

7. The Marriage in Cana of Galilee, a thank offering by William Ellis and Elizabeth Harrison Shull; originally in memory of Harriet Elizabeth Wilson (1823-1894).

8. The Way of the Cross, in memory of John Talbot Ward, Rector; originally a memorial to Mary Armitt Askew (1798- 1888).

9. The Third Word from the Cross, in memory of Earle and Gertrude Page; originally a memorial to George H. Woolman (1837-1882).

10. First Lancet: The Descent from the Cross. Second Lancet: The Leading the Blessed Virgin Away. In memory of Jeanne Marvin Phillips (1928-1978); originally in memory of Pemberton Smith of Philadelphia (1816-1873), his wife Margaret Zell, and child Guilford Smith.

11. North Transept Wall: The Resurrection

12. South Transept Wall: The Ascension, a thank offering from Katherine and Donald A. Burris.

 

The West Wall: The West Window depicts the Nativity of our Lord and adoration by the shepherds. It is dedicated to the memory of the Rev. George Morgan Hills, who served as Rector from 1870 to 1890. The side lancets are memorials to Elizabeth Jones Mead and Robert and Edith Fulton Turner. The original was made in New York City and the current window by the Willet Studio.

 

Sacristy: The windows in this room were originally part of the first window over the Altar. Depicted in the Sacristy window is the seal of Bishop Doane, a rampant unicorn with the motto "Right Onward," and the descending dove representing the Holy Spirit. Above these two symbols are a crown and a cross entwined by a crown of thorns.

 

The Narthex or South Porch has two windows showing robed figures exemplifying "Prayer" and "Praise."