• Image
    Rays of sunshine stream into the church building

Windows' Layout Plan     
The Benedicite Window      1
Old Testament Prophets' Window     2
Old Testament Kings' Window     3
The Incarnation Window      4
The Nunc Dimittis Window      5
The Christ with the Doctors of Law Window   6
The Good Samaritan Window     7
The Resurrection Window      8
The Ascension Window      9
The East Window       10
The Children's Window      11
Cherubim and Seraphim Window     12a
The William Morris Window     12b

The church was built in the late 1870s and originally the windows were all filled with clear glass - a situation, in Victorian times, not destined to last for long!

During the nineteenth century there was a great re-discovery of things mediaeval, both in liturgy and architecture, wall painting and stained glass. Windows, largely plainly glazed since the Reformation, began to be replaced by stained glass, the design of which was often based on Gothic forms. In subject matter, as much as style, there was a return to mediaeval tradition - saints reappeared, as well as biblical subjects, often laden with symbolic content.

In the Middle Ages windows had been used, along with wall paintings, chiefly as teaching aids - the "poor man's Bible". Books, even when they existed, were both scarce and prohibitively expensive. Services were held in Latin, and the Bible had not yet been translated into English. By the 1870s, of course, the need for windows primarily as an educational tool had gone. Now they were used mainly as a decorative feature, and many were given to keep alive the memory of people connected with the church. At St Margaret's they are one of our chief glories.

Most of the glass in the church was made by the firm of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London, a firm which was founded in 1834 and only closed finally in 1973. This firm played a leading part in the quest to produce a less "flat" and more luminous range of coloured glass, i.e. glass of mediaeval quality.

The great West Window represents the story of the Creation, the East Window is complementary to it, being the Vision of St John the Divine in the Apocalypse. Both windows were designed by Norman Shaw R.A., the architect of the church (and chief assistant to G.E. Street) and made by Powells. They were installed in readiness to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.

In between these come windows on the south side dealing with Old Testament Kings and Prophets, and on the north side with New Testament themes.

Thus our worship at St Margaret's is held, Sunday by Sunday, between reminders of our beginning and our end.


diagram of window layout

(1) The Benedicite Window

This window, made by Powell & Sons, dates from 1897. The cost of the two great windows at either end of the church was £1,150.

The theme of the window is the story of the Creation as told in the book of Genesis, and the Fall of Man. Incorporated into this are illustrations of some of the verses from the canticle "Benedicite". These mention "all ye works of the Lord", and urge them, as the writing at the bottom of the window states, to "Bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever".

Points of Interest

In the tracery lights at the top, the hand is a symbol for God the Father. The two coats of arms are (i) on the left, that of the Province of York (crossed keys / crown / crozier / mitre), and (ii) on the right, that of the Diocese of Ripon, the original diocese (crossed keys / Lamb of God / crozier / mitre).

The four large angels are the four archangels, the warriors of heaven, and the messengers of God to man. According to the Hebrew tradition, these four (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel) sustain the throne of God. The first three are mentioned in various books of the Bible, and Uriel appears in the Book of Esdras in the Apocrypha.

From left to right:
(i) Michael - holding scales and a sword

(ii) Gabriel - holds a sceptre

(iii) Raphael - holding a jar of fish gall (ref. the story of Tobias and the Angel)

(iv) Uriel - holds a book showing the signs for Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), depicting the beginning and the end.

Twelve other, smaller angels constitute one of the highlights of this great window. Each one holds a globe depicting one of the works of the Lord, as mentioned in the Benedicite (binoculars are essential to see clearly the exquisite painted details on these globes).

The themes of the globes are (left to right):

Top Row –   Day/ Heaven/ Earth/ Sun/ Fishes/ Beasts (Stag & Sheep)

Bottom Row –  Night/ Waters/ Green things/ Moon & Stars/ Fowls (Birds)/ Adam & Eve

(2) Old Testament Prophets' Window

Maker - Powell & Sons. Date 1902. As can be seen by the inscription, this is a memorial window to a former curate.
Three prophets are shown: from left to right, they are Amos, Isaiah and Samuel.

Amos lived in the 8th century BC. He was a countryman from the small town of Tekoa, a few miles south of Jerusalem. He owned some sheep but still needed to do some seasonal work as a "dresser of sycamore trees", This work took him away from home and, as he travelled, he saw much social injustice, against which he spoke out strongly. He is shown here with his shepherd's crook, and the words on the scroll he hold read "the words of Amos who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa".

Isaiah was also a prophet of the 8th century BC., and like Amos he condemned social and religious evils. He is shown with a quill pen and the book of his prophecies.

Samuel was the last of the Judges, living in the 11th century BC. He also served God as a priest and a prophet, and was given the task of ushering in a new kind of government - kingship. He chose Saul to be the first King of Israel, and is shown, appropriately, carrying the horn of oil for anointing the king, and a crown.

(3) Old Testament Kings' Window

A window given in memory of Henry Dean of the Northumberland Fusiliers, a former chorister of St. Margaret's, who died in Egypt after the battle of Omdurman in 1898. The window was made by Powell & Sons in the following year, and cost £99.

Two of the tracery lights show a man on horseback fighting a dragon (St. George?), but the chief interest in this window lies in the three main lights. From left to right they show: -

Saul - A great warrior and the first king of Israel, Saul came from the tribe of Benjamin and is described in I Samuel, ch. 9 as a handsome young man. He won many battles for the Israelites and is depicted with a spear and shield.

David - The youngest son of Jesse, David followed Saul as King of Israel. Great king of the Israelites, he put down the Philistines and set himself up in Jerusalem from where he controlled a great empire. He came to the throne in 1000 BC and reigned for about 40 years. He is shown here carrying his harp, a crown above, and is clad in a lion skin, with the face of the lion visible on his left knee.

Solomon - The son of David and Bathsheba and David's successor as king. Solomon was renowned for his great wisdom, and it was Solomon who built the first Temple in Jerusalem. It must have been very beautiful, overlaid as it was with gold, and built of cedar and olive wood. He is shown carrying a sceptre.

(4) Incarnation Window

Date 1937 - The maker was Martin Travers (1886-1948) who trained under Com per. His maker's mark appears in the window, bottom right.
Three main figures are depicted: -

In the centre light - Our Lady, with the Christ Child standing on her knee. He is holding an apple, symbolising Christ as the new Adam, holding the fruit of salvation. The Dove represents the Holy Spirit.

On the left - St Hilda of Whitby - note the seagull!

On the right - St. Margaret of Antioch, a third century saint, and the patron saint of this church. She holds a model of the church in her hands, and the dragon associated with her is seen at her feet.

In the Quarter lights are some charming scenes from Our Lord's early life: -

Top left - The Annunciation - The angel's hair suggests that he was in a hurry to bring the news to Our Lady!

Top right - The Nativity - notice the star and the lantern.

Bottom left - The Magi - the three Kings with their gifts.

Bottom right - The Presentation - notice the two doves in a basket, and the way the Child turns back to his mother!

(5) Nunc Dimittis Window

One of the later windows in the church, dated 1907, the maker again being the Powell's Whitefriars factory

This window continues the theme of the Presentation seen briefly in the Incarnation Window. In accordance with the law, Jesus, as the first-born son, was taken up to Jerusalem to be presented at the Temple. The offering, specified in Luke ch. 2, was either two turtle doves or two young pigeons.

Main characters (from left to right)

Simeon the priest,

Our Lady (notice her brooch - a cross)

Anna the prophetess

Also portrayed is the city of Jerusalem and a finely painted wicker basket containing the doves.

In the top lights three of the theological virtues are depicted, each shown with its appropriate symbol:

Faith + cross (above Simeon)

Charity + heart  (above Mary and Jesus)

Hope + anchor (above Anna)

(6) The Christ with the Doctors of Law Window

This centre panel was made by H.J Salisbury in or shortly after 1911 as part of a memorial window for Dunstable Priory. That window became redundant and was saved by The London Stained Glass Repository, which stores glass of special historical or artistic merit in hope of future use.

This panel was restored and installed here in May 2004 at the expense of a member of the congregation as a gift to St Margaret's to the glory of God and in memory of the donor's parents. The plaque beneath it gives details as required by The Repository as to what is original and what was added in its restoration. The additions were the upper section - in the trefoil down to and including the cross - and the lower section - down from and including "To the glory of God".

The window pictures the moment in the account in Luke ch. 2, vvs. 41-52 when the twelve-year-old Jesus is discovered by Mary and Joseph in the temple at Jerusalem listening to and questioning the teachers there. Jesus says to his parents in response to Mary's reproach for the anxious searching he has caused them: "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

The roundels in the lower section, added in the restoration, contain representations by the restorer, Keith Barley of York, of, in the left one, St Peter's Church, Tankersley, South Yorkshire, where the donor's father was baptised and confirmed, and, in the right one, an emblem used by the donor.

(7) The Good Samaritan Window

This window was made by Shrigley & Hunt. It was given in memory of Matthew Todd, who died in 1881 and it illustrates the parable to be found in Luke ch. 10.

Main figures

In the centre - the man who has been robbed, his arm in a sling. Note also the Good Samaritan, his donkey and the container for oil/wine to bathe the victim's wounds.

On either side, the priest and the Levite.

Small Lights - Angels playing, from left to right:-

at the top

1) Handbell

2) Long necked lute

3) A mediaeval string instrument with frets

lower down

1) A bowed instrument (worn and hard to decipher)

2) A portative organ

3) Cymbals

The canopies are copies of the canopies which are such a feature of mediaeval glass.

There is an identical window to this in Lancaster Priory Church.

(8) The Resurrection Window

Another memorial window made by Powell & Sons in 1906 at the cost of £170.

"The first witnesses of Thy glorious resurrection" is the theme of this window. In the upper lights are angels holding two crowns and the Christian monogram IHC. In the left-hand light is the kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene with her ointment jar. An angel stands behind her. In the centre, the risen Christ, and on the right side, St. Peter.

In the bottom lights, the story of Easter morning:

1) The two Marys, weeping (note the three small crosses on the distant hill)

2) The appearance  of the angel at the tomb

3) Mary tells Peter and John

Finally a quotation from Acts ch. 2 - "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses".

(9) Ascension Window

This window, which is the War Memorial window, dates from the year 1919. Again the maker is Powell and Sons, the cost for the window being £299-5-0d, and the cost for the installation being £16-11-6d.

There are three main lights, each of which contains a figure.

On the left: St. George, a 2nd century saint from Cappadocia in Turkey - the patron saint of England, and also the patron saint of soldiers and armourers. He wears splendid armour as does St. Martin on the other side. Notice his spear and shield, also Windsor Castle in the background.

In the centre: - The Ascended Christ. Biblical quotations include "He ascended into heaven", and "Let us now praise famous men". Under the latter is a list of Allied leaders (Jellicoe, Beatty, Roberts, Kitchener, French, Haig, Plumer and Allenby), and the dates Aug 4 1914, Nov 11 1918.

On the right: - St. Martin of Tours, a 4th century saint. He was a soldier, stationed in France, although born in Hungary. He divided his cloak with his sword to give half to a beggar. Later he became Bishop of Tours, a view of which appears in the background. His coat of arms (azure a charbocle gold) appears beneath.

(10) The East Window

Powell and Sons, Whitefriars, 1897.

The dedication says - "In thankfulness for manifold blessings enjoyed by the people and realm of England under the 60 years' rule of Victoria R. I., the East Window of this church was dedicated to the glory of God 1898".

The Themes of the Window are: Christ in Majesty, Judgement and Revelation,

"Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honour and power and might be unto our God for ever and ever" - the song of praise from those around the throne of God in Revelation ch. 7.

The Dove (the symbol of the Holy Spirit) appears in the uppermost light.
Beneath are three monograms for Christ in the tracery lights: -

IHC is interchangeable - the first three letters IHSUS or IHCUC, the name of Jesus in Greek

A&Ω Alpha and Omega

XP - the two Greek letters Chi and Rho are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ

The main lights show, on the left:

1) Just balances (balances) to weigh the souls of the departed.

2) The prayers of All Saints (incense). Note the censers and the blue smoke.

3) Quick and powerful (a sword).

In the centre

4) Christ appears in majesty, robed as a priest.

On the right

5) Gather my saints (trumpet).

6) As it were a new song (harps and organ)

7) Who is worthy (seven seals) - Revelation ch. 5 tells of the scroll, sealed with seven seals, opened by the Lamb.

Under these main lights appear the four Living Creatures (ox, eagle, lion and man) mentioned in Revelation ch. 4 (now largely obscured by the reredos), and interwoven all through are vine leaves and fruit. Revelation ch. 14 tells of an angel told to "put in his sharp sickle and gather in earth's grape harvest, for its clusters are ripe".

Finally (and best seen through binoculars) the symbols of the Passion, which appear interwoven with the words "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" down each side of the window.

Left side (top to bottom)

The crown of thorns

The sacred heart

The scourge and the ladder

The spear and the sponge soaked with hyssop

Right side (top to Bottom)

The cross

The nails

The hammer and pincers

The seamless robe and the dice

(11) The Children's Window

1882 - attributed to Clayton & Bell, on stylistic grounds.

The first stained glass window at St. Margaret's - it was given by the children of the church, and shows children being brought to Jesus.

(12a) Cherubim and Seraphim (the two light angel) Window

1902 - A Burne Jones design for William Morris and Co.

(12b) The William Morris Window

A window in the Pre-Raphaelite style, installed in 1894. It was made in the workshop of William Morris to their own design.

The cost of the window was £98, which included installation. Four angels are portrayed, each of which is playing a musical instrument:

Top left  Mandolin

Top right  Harp

Bottom left  Dulcimer

Bottom right  Organ