Sites and Monument Record: Larbert Parish Church (SMR 127) - stained glass
Chancel: A large three-light window. Highly coloured with a large figure in the bottom of each light looking upwards to the scenes above. In the upper section of the middle light is the figure of Jesus with his arms outstretched. He is wearing a white robe and has long fair hair. To his right is a kneeling man with a roll of parchment. To his left another kneeling man looks on in awe. The apexes are filled with geometric shapes that include chalices. Four angels appear in the individual tracery lights above, with a cross at the very top. Written across the centre in a banner is “THE LAW HAVING A SHADOW/ OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME”. This comes from Hebrews 10.1. The banner separates the two sets of three figures. In the centre are the words “LO! I COME”. At the base the dedicatory panel, in small letters, states “BY HENRY DAWSON OF LIVERPOOL/ PRESENTED TO LARBERT CHURCH/ AS A MEMORIAL 1859/ OF JOSEPH DAWSON OF CARRON/ DESIGNED BY FRANK HOWARD OF LIVERPOOL/ PAINTED BY R.B. EDMUNDSTON & SON MANCHESTER”
The chancel was added in 1911. The large stained glass window represents the Transfiguration. The upper portion, which formerly was clear glass, was filled with stained glass to the design of Mr Alf. Webster, Glasgow. This upper portion has been placed in memory of the late Miss Dawson of Powfoulis. It is meant to emphasise and strengthen the main subject of the window below, "The Transfiguration". The two central angelic figures bear the text "This is My beloved Son" and on the left side is the Angel of the Fall bearing an orb with the forbidden fruit, and on the other the Angel of the Redemption bearing the "cup with the blood", which is shed for the remission of sins. The emblematic vine fills up the remaining portions, with the Cross surmounting the Ark.
Nave: All of the ground floor windows in the nave have stained glass. Each is composed of two-lights and they will be described from the SE corner westward, then from the NW corner eastward.
1. Colour is sparsely used to good effect, helping to create the illusion of depth. An angel is shown in each light; that on the left has its hands clasped in prayer and that on the right carries a tablet and has two birds set on a branch in the foreground. Below each is a small scene (a) a man in a black cloak raising his arms skyward with a long winding mountain path in front of him “From the end of the earth will/ I cry unto thee when/ my heart is underwhelmed”; (b) a man carrying a wheat sheaf in front of a church set in a ripe cornfield “Let every thing that hath/ breath praise the Lord/ Praise ye. The Lord”. The dedicatory panel at the base reads “To the Glory of God and in memory of the/ Reverend John McLaren” and continues “Born 15th September 1823. Inducted minister of the/ united parishes of Larbert and Dunipace/ 16th September 1847. Died 1st January 1898/ Erected by/ members of. The Congregation/ and Friends.” The whole is surrounded by a border composed of small vignettes. The artist is Alfred Alexander Webster of Glasgow and the use of the device of a bishop dates it to 1911.
The subject illustrated is "Prayer and Praise". The angel on the left is the representative of Prayer, the figure wearing a cape and stole, and standing on the stars in an attitude of prayer. Underneath is shown a difficult and steep path scaled by prayer. Humanity's needs are represented by the figure with outstretched arms supplicating the Almighty. The angel on the right is the representative of Praise, the figure holding and playing the lyre. All creation praises - even the birds - while as an example a church with spire is shown on the left-hand corner of the window.
2. A colourful 2-light window portraying an indoor scene with purple fan vaulting and a square paved floor. The left hand light has a couple with haloes – the bearded man holding a caged bird being admired by a kneeling boy. The light on the right has a family group composed of a bearded man holding a baby and a woman placing a reassuring hand on an adolescent child. The panel at the bottom reads “LORD NOW LETTEST THOU/ THY SERVANT DEPART IN PEACE/ ACCORDING TO THY WORD” and continues “FOR MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THY/ SALVATION which THOU hast PREPARED/ BEFORE THE FACE OF ALL PEOPLE”. The dedicatory panel is spread across the two lights “In Memory of/ George Ure D.I. of Wheatlands/ Died 3rd January 1910. Aged 89 years./ A --- --- ---/ lifelong friend of this church”. The window is by R. Dickson & A Walker of Edinburgh, 30th March 1913.
3. A single richly robed figure stands in a Gothic arched surround in each of the two lights. That on the right holds an orb and an open book. The man on the left has his arms outstretched. The background is schematic and sows a path on a balustrade terrace with the green foliage of trees beyond. The theme is announced in a ribbon at the feet of the figures “Well done thou good and faithful Servant/ Enter thou into the joy of the LORD” and “And GOD shall wipe away/ all tears from their eyes”. The border is punctuated by squares containing the letters “his”. The dedication at the bottom is “In memoriam/ Janet Reid Ure/ Born at Carron July 1st 1819/ Died at Wheatlands October 15th 1890” “Erected by/ Her Husband George Ure/ of Wheatlands Bonnybridge”. Date 1917?
4. The left light shows a blond long haired bearded man looking to the right light where a group of three people stand. He wears a red cloak and has a halo containing a Constantine cross – identifying him as Jesus. The group of three is fronted by a bearded man with a blue cloak and head scarf. Behind him is a woman and a man in a red turban. There are grass and flowers at their feet and a tree and distant buildings higher up. The border is made up of white lilies emanating from yellow pots. In the spandrel are two angels supporting banners “THESE ARE THEY WHICH/ CAME OUT OF GREAT/ TRIBULATION” and “THERE --- ---/ BEFORE --- ---/ OF GOD ---“. The text at the base is spread across both lights and reads “Abide with us/ for it is toward/ Evening and the/ day is far spent”. “THIS WINDOW IS PLACED HERE TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN LOVING MEMORY/ OF CATHERINE DICK WHO DIED 15TH DEC 1899/ BY HER HUSBAND ROBERT DOBBIE BEECHMOUNT LARBERT”. The artist was Stephen Adam & Son of Glasgow and it is dated 1902.
5. Each light contains an arch containing three figures. On the left is a bearded man pouring water from a ewer into a bowl with a woman seated at his feet having a naked child on her lap. On the right are two old bearded men with wooden staffs with a younger man kneeling in prayer in front. All of the figures look into the centre of the picture. Incidental features include a caged bird, a basket of food and a castle. The spandrels have winged souls over (1) a coronet and (2) a burning heart. “--- ---/ the --- east” and “of three --- --- / --- --- ---“. Within the scenes are small lettered panels “I was an hungered,/ and you gave me meat:/ thirsty, and ye gave/ me drink:” “sick,/ and ye/ visited/ me.”. The dedication at the base is “TO THE GLORY OF GOD and in LOVING MEMORY/ of ROBERT DOBBIE, IRONFOUNDER, J.P. AND/ DEPUTY LIEUT OF THE COUNTY. DIED 3d JANY 1908” “THIS TRIBUTE to his MEMORY IS PLACED/ HERE by the BROTHER and SISTERS of/ his WIFE (CATHERINE DICK). 1910.” The border shows oak leaves, acorns and tendrils. The artists were Stephen Adam and Alfred Alexander Webster, 1910.
6. This window is dominated by shimmering blue and over-painting. The left light shows a man wading through fish filled water; in his left hand he has a staff, and a young child perches on his right shoulder. Above the child looms an angel. The right light has a woman facing the boy Jesus who carries a drinking flask and a saw (with wood shavings on the floor). The upper part of the window is darker blue with white clouds, latticed with lead. The dedication is at the base “To the Glory of God and in memory/ of J.P. Smith J.P. who was a member/ of this Church for over sixty years” “Born October 5.1852/ Died December 19.1929/ Erected by his brothers” The artist’s name is shown in a panel on the left side containing a bishop’s emblem; executed by Gordon McWhirter Webster of the Stephen Adam Stained Glass Studio, Glasgow in 1930.
It is of two lights and represents earthly work and achievement. The left-hand light depicts the famous incident of St Christopher bearing the child Jesus across the river. The saint is wearing the brown robe of a pilgrim and carries a green water bottle slung across his shoulder. Under the ever increasing strains of his divine burden he leans on his staff. The Christ child is clad in the white robe of immaculate purity, while the little scarlet halo behind His head foreshadows his suffering and symbioses His sacrifice. The angel in the group, with left wing extended protectingly, represents the Heavenly Presence of protection. His robe of green is embroidered with the vine pattern of Jesus. Further down is the Dove, shown in pale red tone, the alternative colour of the Holy Spirit. Below is to be seen a mooring post with metal ring, while bulrushes spring out of the adjacent water. In the water are depicted two fishes, the early Christian symbol of the Spirit. On the far bank of the river are thorns, typifying the numerous trials through which Saint Christopher had to pass during his earthly life. Above the thorns and behind the left wing of the angel rise steep cliffs of purple hue while conventionalised clouds float above.
The right-hand light is devoted to a pictorial study of the Virgin Mary, the mother of the Divine Child, who is seen with her Son in the carpenter’s workshop. The purple curtain at the rear screens a window so that the light is concentrated on the little window on the right and pours through in a beam full on the head of the boy Jesus Christ, who wears a brown working robe, holds a saw in His hand and is looking steadfastly up at the light. There is a water bottle at his side. His hue is of white, showing thereby that His radiance is bright even against the sun’s beams, and its cruciform type foreshadows the great Passion to come. Mary, His mother, is clad in blue and the embroidery on her cloak consists of thorn stems encircling flaming hearts and Maltese crosses, symbols of love and of Jesus. Her arm is extended towards the boy in motherly protection. Behind her is a yellow pot containing Madonna lilies, the symbol of her purity. On the wall above the lilies are depicted chisels and a plumb-line, while on the floor and against the left side are chips, wood shavings, a sledge hammer and planks, all suggesting the interior of a carpenter’s workshop. The blue background above the purple curtain again suggests the sky with clouds floating in it.
7. The window has figures wearing colourful costume, which contrasts with a black and white background. Each shows Jesus with a bearded man kneeling in prayer at his feet. “Feed my/ Sheep” and “G/ REMEMBRAN CE”. There is an arched vignette in the bottom centre (extending across both lights) with Jesus being hugged by a young boy; and with two younger children. An angel slopes across each of the spandrels, the one on the left having a book and the other a cross. The inscription at the base says “TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND/ IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF/ REV. JOHN FAIRLEY -/ MINISTER OF THE UNITED PARISHES/ OF LARBERT AND DUNIPACE/ FROM 1902 TO 1931/ ERECTED BY THE/ CONGREGATION AND FRIENDS 1935.” Artist: Meikle, Glasgow, 5 November 1933.
8. Heavily latticed window with shimmering green and blue colours. There is a deliberate geometric background to the latticing and the figures are shown in the modern style. The main scene has Jesus standing on the left with his right hand raised in blessing. In front of his are three standing figures, two kneeling and one boy. Below this is a large vignette showing the three kings visiting the stable with gifts; Mary and Joseph on the right and animals inside. “Let your LIGHT so/ SHINE before MEN/ that THEY shall SEE/ your GOOD WORKS” “As you would thur MEN/ should DO to YOU/ DO YE also unto/ THEM likewise.” Artist: Gordon McWhirter Webster, March 1962 – the window is signed “GORDON/ WEBSTER/ 1962”. The window was dedicated to Andrew and Jessie McCowan and their sons Andrew and Douglas.