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.
A set of five 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.)
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.