Stained Glass windows
Below are some beautiful examples of the Stained Glass windows present in the Church.
The Church has a rich variety of Stained Glass windows mostly dedicated in memory of family members from the early days of the Grange Church. Most of the glass was manufactured by Ballantine and Gardener whose work can be seen in a variety of churches in Scotland and England. A few notable windows include these:
North Wall West End: A memorial to the Morham family who resided in Lauder Road.
East Wall Northside: A memorial window bearing the text ‘Consider the Lilies’, to the memory of Very Rev Dr David Paull, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1915, Minister of the Grange Church and a noted botanist and Fellow of the Linnean Society.
The church has some splendid stained glass, perhaps most notably the Paul window in the east wall behind the pulpit. This is in memory of Rev Dr David Paul, the church’s minister from 1896 – 1919, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1915. As he was a noted botanist, the theme of the window “Consider the Lilies” is very apt. The window, containing 1,200 pieces of glass, was the work of Baillie & Telfer, Glasgow. Following the relocation of the organ from the chancel, the windows in the east end were gifted by the family of Professor Orr in 1949.
Many of the windows were manufactured by Ballantyne & Gardiner of Edinburgh who were noted in their field. Many churches of this period were enhanced by their windows, including Crichton Collegiate Church, St Cuthbert’s in Lothian Road, St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington, St Andrew’s in Tain and many others further afield.
The glazed panels in the St Giles’ room show St Andrew on the left, and the West St Giles World War II memorial on the right, while in the centre the engraved panel notes the formation of Marchmont St Giles’ and the names and dates of founding of the three churches.
Of the twenty three windows within the church, only one is unadorned with stained glass, although the church archive does have information that plans and discussions had taken place about other works, which may have included that window.
The Butterfly was chosen as the theme because it has been used for hundreds of years to represent the soul and reincarnation. The panels show the life cycle of the butterfly, beginning with magnified presentations of butterfly eggs, which are different for each species.
The caterpillar and its silken threads suggest that life can be fragile and tenuous. These sections are set against a background of butterfly silhouettes, as if in a collection, but which symbolise the crucifixion.
The pupae, some containing the suggestion of human figures, represent the potential of all for spiritual rebirth. The butterflies burst from the pupae and through the empty silhouettes, becoming more and more colourful as they are drawn towards the light of the last panel, where the last silhouette again symbolises the ascent of the spirit.
The front panels were commissioned by Marchmont St Giles’ Parish Church to mark the opening of the new Church Centre.
The panels on the reverse, facing into the Centre, show butterflies again, beginning with a single insect and congregating gradually to form a host, in brilliant colours. This symbolises the Centre as a gathering place.
These Gathering Panels were donated to the Church by Margaret and Alison Kinnaird, in memory of John, husband and father, an elder and a former Treasurer and Session Clerk of this church, who died in 1995.
The panels are of optical crystal, engraved by copper wheel and sandblast. They are lit by LEDs, with dichroic colour.
The baptismal laver and basin, which were made by Mungo Yorstoune, were gifted to West St Giles’ Church (then known as the New North Kirk) by Mary Erskine in 1708.
The inscription on the laver is “MARY ARESKIN John 3:5 Except a man is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom”. The basin is inscribed “This basin and laver wer gifted by Mary Areskin, Relick of James Hare, Drogist, in Edinburgh for the use of the New North Kirk there. Anno 1708”.
The Tindal Mosaic
Over one million pieces of tessera make up the mosaic and it took about a year to complete the design. The work to create the mosaic from the drawings took a further two months to complete before installation in the church and the dedication of the side chapel and mosaic in May 1965. The mosaic is reputed to be one of the most intricate of its kind in the UK. A leaflet giving an explanation of the imagery used in the mosaic is available in the side chapel.
In late 2009 we learned that another mosaic by Ray Howard Jones on the Western Mail building in Cardiff was lost when the building was demolished. It and the Tindall Mosaic were the subjects of an illustrated article in Andamento, the annual journal of the British Association for Modern Mosaic – (Issue No 4).
(Andamento is the visual flow and direction within a mosaic produced by the placement of rows of tesserae.)
The side chapel in the south transept of the Church was converted with the funds provided by a member, Miss Elizabeth Donaldson, and dedicated in memory of her mother.
At the same time, Professor William S Tindal, an elder in the Grange Church and Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at New College, gifted the striking mosaic on the east wall of the side chapel in memory of his wife. The Communion Table was also donated by Professor Tindal.
The mosaic was designed by Ray Howard Jones and created by Ernest de Rosa, and has the theme of the Te Deum Laudamus – We Praise Thee, O God.
After a service to mark the centenary of the Grange Church in November 1971, a canister was interred under the floor of the vestibule of the church. The capsule, to be opened in 2071, contains the following items:
“We of Grange Parish Church send our greetings to our successors of 2071 AD. This casket was placed in position by Mr S K Gifford Kerr, Senior Writer to the Signet, our oldest elder and a regular church attendee. Baptised this morning was Colin James Milligan, son of James G Milligan, Advocate Depute and Mrs Milligan, 36 Mansionhouse Road Edinburgh.”
Though we can never see your face
And never shake you by the hand
We send our soul through time and space to greet you,
You will understand.
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.
- Copies of The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Life and Work;
- Pre-decimal and decimal coins and a selection of postage stamps;
- A handwritten letter which was received on 4th October 1971 from Mrs Pearson (who was born just two years after the Robertson Memorial Church was opened, and was the niece of Dr Paul)