The St. Columba Window
(The west lancet in the south wall of the south chapel)
What date is this window?
Likely to date between 1888 and 1896. It probably has the same date as the very similar window of St David.
Who made this window?
It was made by the firm of Clayton and Bell.
Who gave this window?
The brothers James and Tom Pollock in memory of their younger brother William Paul Pollock who died in 1863. He was the father of their only nephew, Arthur Williamson Alsager Pollock.
Is there a dedication plaque?
Yes, a plaque beneath the window reads: "To the Glory of God in Memory of William Paul Pollock Major late Royal Artillery son of Major Pollock of Strathallan Isle of Man and Katharine Jane his wife. In peace April 13 MDCCCLXIII aged 42 years."
At the top of the window an angel holds a scroll bearing the text "Holy, Holy, Holy", while at the foot a another angel holds a scroll with the same wording. Between, St Columba stands in an architectural frame, robed as a bishop in mitre and cope and holding an episcopal staff. The animal by his side is a fox. Some sources say that Columba's birth name was Crimthann, meaning 'fox', and that he took the name Colm Cille, meaning 'church dove' (Columba is Latin for 'dove') later.
This window is one of six by the firm of Clayton and Bell in this chapel and the ambulatory depicting British and Irish saints; those of St David and St Columba in this chapel are probably the earliest in the series.
St Columba or Colmcille
Born in Donegal in 521 into the Uí Néill aristocracy, Columba studied under several prominent church figures in Ireland before becoming a priest. In 544 he returned to the land of his family. In 560 he became involved in a quarrel about the ownership of a book and pehaps also in dynastic conflict and around 563 he and his twelve companions crossed to Scotland, perhaps as exiles. They settled on Iona off the Ross of Mull in the inner Hebrides, then part of the Irish kingdom of Dál Riata, which had been colonised from Ulster. They founded their abbey there as a base for spreading Christianity among the pagan Picts. Columba travelled around Scotland as a missionary, and he or his companions founded several churches in the Hebrides. He was a renowned scholar and wrote several hymns.
When the present church of St Alban on the corner of Conybere Street and Stanhope Street opened in 1881, the previous church of St Alban on the corner of Leopold Street and Dymoke Street was renamed St Columba's, serving as a school during the week and a mission chapel on Sundays.
This page is part of our project "Revealing St Alban's Hidden Heritage" supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.