For over 30 years after the first East window was installed, all the other windows in Holy Trinity remained clear glass. Then, in 1910, the angel Gabriel descended on wings of fire to grace the window by the pulpit. Like the original East window, this too is a Victorian Gothic design, topped by medieval stone arches that are dwarfed by the heavenly messenger. The archangel has bare feet, as angels do because they do not tread on the earth, that rest upon clouds (English storm clouds, wouldn’t you say?), against a night sky studded with stars which echo the night stars in the Crucifixion panel. The heavenly being’s right knee was smashed during one of the acts of window breaking vandalism that extended through the 1960s to the late 1980s, and replaced with nearly clear modern glass. Since 1975 the windows have been protected by grills (given by H. Kimber) but that did not prevent a further 40 panes being smashed elsewhere in the church in 1980.
The angel was a gift to the memory of the Holy Trinity vicar Charles Longland, who died in 1908, and to his daughter Mary Elizabeth who had died earlier in her teens. It presents a scroll in Gothic script bearing the inscription which the Revd Longland included in the dedication of his book of sermons: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3.16). Like the angel Gabriel, who was God’s messenger to the prophet Daniel and, later, to the Virgin Mary, priests ordained in the ritual laid down by the Book of Common Prayer were prepared for their vocation with the words that they were to be “Messengers, Watchmen and Stewards of the Lord”. And it’s right by the pulpit.