Sites and Monument Record: Falkirk Parish Church (Falkirk Old & St Modan's) (SMR 425) - stained glass
The first stained glass was installed in 1852 on either side of the pulpit by Ballantine and Allan of Edinburgh. The pattern was a simple one of geometric circles with primary colours of blue and red. In the early 1890s the church was altered and an organ was inserted in the lower part of the wall containing these windows. Consequently the glass was removed and the upper sections were placed under the galleries in the west and east walls, the lower sections going to Laurieston Church.
The windows in the top gallery of these walls were installed in 1852 by the same firm. These feature the same primary colours and quatrefoils.
New stained glass was placed in the truncated north windows to either side of the pulpit in 1897, the work of Christopher Whitworth Whall of London. Archibald Melville left a legacy for them in memory of his father John Melville of Kersehill and his own wife and child who had predeceased him. The subject of the windows is love fulfilling the law;
(1) the duty to God – the love of God – is depicted on the west window.
(2) the duty to man - love of the neighbour – on the east window.
The west window illustrates the text “thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, all they soul, all thy strength and all thy mind”. Accordingly the four lancets show Abel as a young man worshipping God at an altar – love from the heart; Abraham preparing a sacrifice when the angel tells him not to sacrifice his son but a ram – love from the soul; Moses challenged by God at the burning bush – love with the strength; and David as king, musician and shepherd – love with the mind. A further dimension is added by the picture of Elijah ascending to heaven.
The east window tells the parable of the good Samaritan in four parts, the robbers attack the traveller; the Levite examines the wounded man but keeps aloof while the priest also rides on his way; the Samaritan binds his wounds; and finally the Samaritan ensures that the wounded man is cared for. The text “love they neighbour as thy self” compliments the story. In the arch “first be reconciled to thy brother then come and offer thy gift” is illustrated by a scene of reconciliation beside an altar on which gifts have been placed. (Mitchell, R 2005 ‘Stained glass in Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Parish Church’, Calatria 22, 59-69).
The four windows in the corners of the NE and NW walls were reglazed in 1972. They are decorated with quarry glass in light shades of yellow, green and blue and in the top of each is a single symbol – an alpha in the east window; an omega in the west; a communion cup in the W of the north wall; and the chi-rho on the remaining one.
On the south elevation of the church hall is the millennium window. It was designed by Rolland Mitton of Livingston in 1995 and depicts a cross. It is set in a blind window and so is back-lit at night.