The St. Margaret of Scotland Window
What date is this window?
We know that it was installed no earlier than 1888, as it commemorates a woman who died in October 1888, and no later than 1897 as it appears in a picture taken before the wrought iron chancel screen was installed. It was installed after the St Alban window, as it this window appears to be boarded up in a photograph that shows the latter.
Who made this window?
It was made by the firm of Clayton and Bell.
Who gave this window?
Presumably it was given by Major Lionel Spens in memory of his wife Eliza.
Is there a dedication plaque?
Yes, a brass plaque beneath this window reads: “To the glory of God in memory of Eliza Margaret Alsager wife of Major Lionel SPENS the Buffs East Kent Reg. In peace Oct: 22 MDCCCLXXXVIII”.
Eliza Margaret Alsager Spens (nee Blake) was daughter of Margaret A Pollock, the sister of Catharine J Pollock who married William Paul, brother of James and Thomas Pollock.
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 "These All Died in Faith" - a quotation form the Letter to the Hebrews - the full verse is "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." In the Letter to the Hebrews this verse refers to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah and their achievements through faith; perhaps here it refers to the travels of Margaret as an exile and the achievements of her strong faith.
Between the upper and lower angels, St Margaret of Scotland stands within an architcetural surround, crowned and holding a cross and a book.
Also known as St Margaret of Wessex, she was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Born in about 1045 in Hungary, where her father Edward the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside, had been exiled following the conquest of England by the Danish king Knut, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the last male heir of the Wessex royal house of Cerdic. Her family returned to England in 1057 at the invitation of Edward the Confessor, but fled to Scotland following the Norman conquest in 1066. In or before 1070, Margaret married Malcolm III, becoming Queen of Scots.
She performed many charitable works, feeding orphans and paupers every day before herself eating, and establishing a ferry for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews to cross the Firth of Forth between the towns named South Queensferry and North Queensferry in her honour. She instigated the foundation of the Benedictine Abbey at Dunfermline and the restoration of the Abbey on Iona, as well as reforms of the Scottish Church. She spent much time in prayer, devotional reading, and ecclesiastical embroidery.
She died at Edinburgh Castle in 1093, soon after receiving the news of her husband's death when ambushed near Alnwick during a raid into England.
This page is part of our project "Revealing St Alban's Hidden Heritage" supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.