St. Alban the Martyr

The St Alban Window

What date is this window?
We know that it was installed between 1885 and 1899, as it commemorates a child who died in December 1884 and it can be seen in a photograph taken before modifications to the platform on which the High Altar stands made in 1899.

Who made this window?
It was made by the firm of Clayton and Bell.

Who gave this window?
James Henry and Sophia Mole, in memory of their son Leonard. (The chancel screen was given in memory of James Henry Mole who died in 1894. He was a Goldsmith.)

Is there a dedication plaque?
Yes, a brass plaque beneath the window reads: "To the Glory of God in memory of Leonard Truman Mole who entered into rest 14 December 1884 aged 10 years."

Description
At the top of the window two angels hold a scroll bearing the text "Holy, Holy, Holy", while at the foot a single angel holds a scroll with the text "The Noble Army of Martyrs Praise Thee" - a quotation from the Te Deum Laudamus - a song of praise sung at traditional Prayer Book Morning Prayer, and the theme of one of the later windows in the clerestory. Between, St Alban stands within an architectural surround. With his right hand he holds a palm branch - symbol of his martyrdom - and a sword - the instrument of his martyrdom. with his left hand he holds a cross. Unusually - but correctly - Alban is not dressed as a roman soldier. Although he is usually portrayed as a Roman soldier, as in his statue in this church, the earliest accounts of his martyrdom make no mention of his profession.

St Alban
Alban was the first Christian martyr (or protomartyr) in England. Although himself a pagan, he hid a Christian priest in his home during a time of persecution. The priest’s behaviour impressed Alban and he was converted. When the authorities discovered where the priest was hiding and came to seize him, Alban put on the priest’s cloak and presented himself to the soldiers in his stead. When the magistrate found Alban had swapped places with the priest, he ordered him to sacrifice to the pagan gods. Alban refused, declaring: “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.” The magistrate had Alban tortured and when he remained steadfast had him put to death.  His martyrdom for changing places with a Christian priest is mentioned by Gildas in The Ruin of Britain, written about 540, but the earliest detailed account of Saint Alban's life is in the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People written in 731. Alban lived in Verulamium (now Saint Albans) in the 3rd or 4th century.


This page is part of our project "Revealing St Alban's Hidden Heritage" supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.