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Stained Glass at St Paul's

The old St Paul’s was noted for being particularly dark due to the amount of stained glass throughout the church. The new St Paul’s was designed to make the most out of natural light, and so the aisle and clerestory windows are of clear glass, and which provide amazing shafts of light when the sun is out, and especially when incense rises towards the roof. However, the East and West ends, as well as the Lady Chapel, do contain beautiful examples of stained glass.

West Window

Of particular interest is the unique Memorial West Window, which was placed there in memory of Archdeacon Bright, the vicar incumbant at the building of the new church, and whom left a legacy to complete the building of the tower.

The subject is “The New Jerusalem”, and perhaps the most outstanding feature is a view of Halifax taken from Beacon Hill. The idea of the design is the vision of St John the Divine in the text, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth”, which text extends over the bottom of the first three lights. One sees the Holy City descending upon Halifax. In the right hand bottom light is the figure of St John the Divine with his arms outstretched towards the vision. Riding across the sky above Halifax are the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Above them is the New Jerusalem with its ever opened gates guarded by twelve angels, and beyond are the spires of the Holy City. In the right hand light the Fountain of Life, and in the left hand light, the Bread of Life are represented. In the apex is a representation of our victorious Lord upon the Cross. Surrounding the Holy City and binding together the whole design is rainbow which runs through the four lights of the window.

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East Window

The East Window was given as a memorial to the Wainhouse family, who supported the building of the old St Paul’s.

The window represents the risen Lord in the centre; with St Peter and St Mary the Virgin on the left; St Mary Magdalene and St Paul on the right. Above, in the two long lights is a representation of the Annunciation while below is represented the Adoration of the Lamb. Various shields and symbolic devices are shown in the window, which is not only a work of art of the highest order and a scheme of colour surpassing beauty but is also full of teaching for those who patiently set themselves to read the message which the artist has potrayed.

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Lady Chapel – North Side 1

The Lady Chapel contains a connected series of smaller windows, dedicated to the memory of Harold Tillotson Sykes, the scenes portrayed are from Our Lady’s life.

Beginning with the windows on the North side, we have first, the Annunciation; The Virgin kneeling in prayer, and the Archangel Gabriel coming with his message. At the feet of the Virgin lies an open psalter with the words “Bless the Lord, O my Soul and forget not all His benefits”. Above the Archangel is seen the Dove, symbol of the Holy Ghost. In a small light at the top of the window is the Prophet Isaiah and on a scroll the words, “Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel”.

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Lady Chapel – North Side 2

The next window illustrates the visit of the Virgin to her aged kinswoman, Elizabeth. On the left on a scroll the words of St Elizabeth “Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me” and around the Virgin is the legend “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour”. In both windows in the four triangular lights are seen golden crowns, the guerdon of the Saints. On the sides of the pinnacle work in each window are small figures of Saints or Prophets of the Old Testament.

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Lady Chapel – East Side

The East window represents the Adoration of the Shepherds. In the centre under the canopy, indicating the Bethlehem stable, is the Virgin Mother, kneeling in prayer and wonder before the infant Christ, who is lying on the ground in a nimbus of golden light, the Infant pointing the right hand to His mouth as though to indicate the humility of the Incarnation. On the right is St Joseph leaning on his staff, while in front of him with bent knee is shepherd boy and on the left an old man, also a shepherd. Below there are three figures representing Haggai, David and Micah. The background of this window is what is known as “quarry” glass, only slightly tinted, so as to admit the maximum amount of light.

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