Holy Trinity has a good deal of stained glass, mostly from the nineteenth century set into much older frames in the mainly 16th century stonework.
The largest is the window in the East wall above the chancel. The window on the same wall in the Vesey Chapel is also sizable, and this Chapel also houses a stained glass window on its north wall. Again in the South Chapel (now the choir vestry) there is stained glass on both walls – a total of three windows.
There are further stained glass windows on the north and West nave walls of the church and in the South West corner, but not along the south side where light can penetrate the clear windows above and below the Georgian gallery.
The clerestory (the row of windows just below the roof in the nave) also has stained glass in the south windows only, all with geometric designs.
In 2018 the final phase of the re-ordering of the church exposed the window installed in 1896 in the West wall of the tower, which had been obscured since 1950 by the installation of the last pipe organ in the church.
The East window
The window on the East wall of the church at the end of the chancel area (dais) possibly dates from the 15th century, and in the 17th century contained three shields in stained glass depicting the arms of Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. These were apparently damaged and removed in 1730. From then until 1863 the window contained plain leaded lights.
The present window was made by Gibbs of London in 1863 and was placed in memory of the Revd William Riland Bedford, one of the long line of Rectors from this family to serve Holy Trinity.
The three lights at the very top show two angels with shields depicting the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. They stand either side of “Christ in majesty”.
Below these are four figures: a prophet – John the Baptist; an apostle (St Peter); a martyr (St Paul) and a Bishop (Vesey) representing the church on earth.
Below this are five further lights (windows) each depicting key moments from the life of Jesus:
- the Annunciation
- the Adoration of the shepherds
- the Crucifixion
- the Baptism of Jesus
- the Agony in the Garden.
Finally angelic figures at the foot of the window hold appropriate texts.
Vesey chapel East window
The East window above the modern mosaics on the East wall of the Vesey Chapel consisted of small diamond-shaped leaded lights until 1870 when the current stained glass was put in by Ballantine of Edinburgh.
Each light (window space) commemorates prominent Suttonians of the time as well as Bishops associated with the church.
In the five main lights, the crucifixion of Christ is the central image, while other references to Bible stories are shown in the rest.
The four lights above these depict, from left to right, Bishop Vesey, St Peter, St Paul and St John the Baptist.
The window given by Sarah Holbeche is in the north wall of the Vesey Chapel – Bishop Vesey’s coat of arms is on the left, in the centre are the arms of the Diocese of Exeter (of which he was Bishop), and Dr. Williamson’s arms on the right. Following the sudden death of John Riland in 1843, Dr. Richard Williamson came in 1844 as Rector from Westminster where he was headmaster.
Roger Lea notes that “Sarah Holbeche thought so well of Williamson, who left in 1851, that she commissioned a stained glass window for the church; on April 10th 1865″.
‘My window hoisted, disappointed at first view but not dissatisfied – merit or demerit is with Hardman [the famous Birmingham craftsman who made the window]. I have done well for the church, and gratified myself in doing honour to Dr. Williamson’
Ref: Sarah Holbeche’s diary.
The Mary Boggon window
This is in the east wall of the choir vestry. It was given in 1965 in memory of Phyllis Mary the wife of Canon John Boggon, Rector of the church. The artists were Nora Yoxall and Elsie Whitford who designed and made the windows at their studio in Blockley, Gloucestershire.
The window depicts the Marys of the New Testament – Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a young woman on the left of the centre and, sorrowing, on the right. Other lights show Jesus with Mary Magdalene and in the house of his friend Lazarus with Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha.
This is one of two windows on the south wall in the choir vestry (right side).
It was dedicated in 1907 to the memory of two members of the Colmore family who were residents of Ashfurlong Hall.
It was made by W. Lowndes of Chelsea and is attributed to Mary Lowndes.
The main image is of the risen Jesus supping with his fellow travellers on the road to Emmaus.
Bishop Barnes window
This is one of two windows on the south wall of the choir vestry (left side). It was also the work of Miss Yoxall and Miss Whitford and was installed in 1956.
Ernest William Barnes (1874-1953) was Bishop of Birmingham from 1924-1953. The window commemorates his school (King Edward VI, Birmingham) and university (Trinity College Cambridge). As Bishop he appears to have courted controversy in a number of spheres. He presided over the dedication of the 1950 organ at Holy Trinity.
Windows in the southwest corner
The window on the west wall at the end of the south side is a memorial by Revd WK Riland Bedford to his mother and his sixth child who died in 1865 at the age of 4.
The light on the left depicts Christ holding a child and commemorates the child, Arthur Edward Riland Bedford.
On the right is an image of the resurrection commemorating Grace Campbell Bedford who died in 1875.
The window was by Ballantine of Edinburgh.
On the south wall in this corner are two stained glass lights to the memory of Charles Edward Chevasse, a churchwarden.
He was the son of Dr Thomas Chevasse and a member of a well-known Midlands family.
The window was erected by his widow and children and consists of two lights as follows:
Left – “The sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”
Right – “I am the light of the world, and he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
Tower window (West wall)
This window dates from 1896 and commemorates the Misses Blews of Maney. It depicts Faith, Hope and Charity. Because it was blocked to view between 1950 and 2018 its provenance has not been recorded. It is hoped we will gain more information from future surveys of the church.
Windows around the North gallery
There are numerous stained glass windows with geometric patterns on each of the walls at the edge of the north gallery, dating from the nineteenth century when the gallery was added.
The window on the west end, however, which has now been exposed to full view with the removal of this end section of the gallery in 2016, replaced similar much earlier stained glass set into the sixteenth century stonework.
This is now clearly visible above the inner doors to the new church entrance (Vesey entrance).
Memorial to Eric Arthur Walker
This window is on the North wall near to the modern cafe area.
It was erected by Thomas Walker at a cost of £90 in memory of his son who died in the First World War in France. The script at the foot reads: ‘To the glory of God and in loving memory of Eric Arthur Walker, 2nd Lieut, 9th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry’… (LH window)
…’sometime a chorister in the church who gave his life for his country in France December 29th 1915 in his 21st year’. (RH window).
The two halves of the window depict on the left St George, patron saint of England, and on the right St Dionysius, patron saint of France.
There are two separate pieces of stained glass worthy of mention here.
One is a full window that came from one of the local buildings known affectionately as a ‘tin tabernacle’.
This particular simple church was on the site of what is now a garage on the Reddicap Trading Estate off Coleshill Road, and was referred to in parish magazines as the Reddicap Mission.
This was not replaced by a permanent church unlike the two temporary structures that preceded St Peter’s and St Chad’s.
The window depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd.
The second piece is a much earlier and smaller fragment depicting a bishop.
It is now thought to be by Francis Eginton and to be a depiction of St Jerome.