Among our many stained glass windows, eight are memorials to members of St. Paul’s.
When we observe the works from a distance we are struck by the vivid colours and dramatic contrasts. Close up, we are equally impressed by the facial details of the biblical subjects: the artists spend many hours with their paint brushes to achieve the life-like flesh tones.
The double window at the west (Main St.) wall honours Rev. Clifford Bennett, our minister from 1904 to 1908. A native of Nelson Township who studied law before he was ordained, he came to Milton midway in his career – he served five congregations before arriving and four afterwards. When he retired in 1920 he became a part-time farmer in nearby Meadowvale. Rev. Bennett died in 1936. More than 20 years later his daughter Sybil Bennett commissioned the window. A lawyer in Georgetown and a Conservative, the late Sybil was the first woman to represent Halton in Parliament. She served in Ottawa from 1953 to 1957 when Louis St. Laurent was Prime Minister.
The set of five middle windows on the James Street wall, commissioned by the congregation, pays tribute to seven members of St. Paul ‘s who died in the First World War; all were soldiers. Alfred Bastedo was killed in 1915, Fred Walsh in 1916, Cedric Harrop, 1917; J. Watts Archer, Meacham Denyes, Roland Merrett and Elmer Tuck all lost their lives in 1918, the last year of the war.
A second war memorial is part of the large window on the Main Street wall. It was dedicated in 1919 by the Harrop family for their son, Cedric, and his friend Fred Walsh. Fred died in the battle of the Somme ; in three months of fighting 25,000 Canadians were killed or wounded. Fred left a daughter, Evelyn, whom he never saw. His widow, Cora Hartley, later married Norman Wrigglesworth; they had seven children. All ten members of this family were associated with St. Paul ‘s over the years. Two are widely known to us today – Mabel Coulson and John Wrigglesworth.
Cedric Harrop was killed on the second day of the short but disastrous battle of Passchendaele ( Belgium ). In 13 days of this controversial action the Canadian casualty list – dead and wounded – reached 15,000. After the war Cedric’s parents returned to England but other members of the family were members of the congregation for more than 60 years. David Harrop, a member of St. Paul ‘s who died in the Second World War, was a nephew of Cedric. For many years David’s father, Ted, operated a dairy farm on Steeles Avenue; the family home later became Harrop’s Restaurant.
The memorial panel of the large window on the north wall pays tribute to Samuel Bews, a prominent member and local businessman. He died in 1927. His widow, Bertha Harrison, who had the window installed, was active in St. Paul ‘s until her death in 1940. (For decades the Bews family – Samuel and his father, William – operated a clothing store on Main Street.)
The windows on either end of the James Street set of windows. In February 2007, Susan Belle Peacock passed away at the ago of 99. In her will, she left a bequest to St. Paul’s to honour her husband, Hedley Graham, with two stained glass windows ‘in the church of his youth’. Mrs. Peacock also wanted a representation of women’s involvement during WWII to be included, hence the symbol for the W.R.C.N.S.(Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service) on the north most window. The windows also honour the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps and the Royal Canadian Navy. Graham’s parents were extremely active in Milton during the late 1880s and early 1900s. His father, John Henry Peacock, was the Dominion Express agent and operated a coal business. He served as warden of Halton County, member of Milton Council, Chair of the Public School Board, secretary of the Halton Agricultural Society, master of St. Clair Lodge. In 1905, he was one of the fundraisers for paying off the church debt. In March 1916, he was able to declare the Milton Methodist Church (St. Paul’s) debt free at the Silver Anniversary. Graham was the youngest of a family of three sons and a daughter. He played goal for a Milton hockey team in 1920 and 1921 and was president of the Boys’ Athletic Association at Milton High School. He had an interest in early radio reception in 1922. Later he built an amateur station broadcasting a concert for local listeners. Graham graduated in Pharmacy in 1931 and served in the Fonthill area. In 1933, Captain Graham Peacock presided over the Lorne Scots Rifles and in 1934 he was promoted to Major. In October of 1934, he studied map reading. In October 1935 Major Graham Peacock arranged for a grand parade in Milton of the Lorne Scots regiment including brass band and pipers. Graham died on November 15, 1990 at the age of 87. His funeral was from Fonthill United Church with interment in Evergreen Cemetery, Milton.
All the windows are the product of the McCausland studio in Toronto and those damaged in the fire of 2010 have been reproduced from that studio’s original drawings.