The Windows of St. John’s Church
by Walter D. Kolos, Church Historian
The stained glass windows at St. John’s Church are perhaps the most famous of the parish’s many treasures. Starting in the late nineteenth century, stained glass windows began to appear in the church, and by the turn of the twentieth century there was a full complement of leaded glass work in place.
The influences of the Oxford Movement which began in the 1830s didn’t arrive at St. John’s until the 1860s. Initially, our colonial style church was “gothicized,” primarily with a liturgical floor plan (chancel and center aisle arrangement ), and gothic style furniture. By the 1870s, stained glass windows started to appear. The first windows were attributed to the firm of Sharp and Steele of New York. Known as glass stainers, they had a factory on lower Sixth Avenue, and were quite prolific in the period between 1850 and 1897.
The windows on the west side of the nave, and at the chancel, are believed to be from this manufacturer. The rich colors, realistic renderings and ornate canopies are typical of Sharp and Steele’s glass work. Metal and paint appliqués (some of them water soluble) were also employed. Their work was very popular during this period, and some churches were completely outfitted by “Sharp” windows.
It was this style and process of glass making that Louis Comfort Tiffany opposed. He had introduced a new style of stained glass which employed richly textured layers of glass. The folds in fabrics and the details of vegetation were achieved with “flowing” glass. His renowned “opalescence” technique was all the rage in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Tiffany lived in the community, building his famous “Laurelton Hall” just to the north of the church in Laurel Hollow. Some of his descendants are members of St. John’s today.
The windows have undergone a tremendous amount of restoration work in recent years, and the work is not over (and will never be). They are not only visually beautiful, but also an integral part of our faith community’s legacy.
The Tiffany Windows
His appearance was like lightening, and his raiment as white as snow… Matthew 28:3
This window depicts the Angel at the tomb of Jesus on the morning of the Resurrection.
To the Glory of God and in memory of
Charles B. Moore
Frances M. Moore
Frances M. Bleecker
These three individuals were members of the John H. Jones family, and also the Moore family of Moore’s Hill Road in Laurel Hollow.
The Good Shepherd
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? Luke 15: 3-4
This window, from a parable, shows Jesus in prayer holding a shepherd’s crook. Behind him can be seen a vast multitude of sheep – his devoted and well-tended flock.
In Memory of
John Divine Jones
and his wife
Josephine Katherine Jones
John Divine Jones was one of the most prominent Jones family members in the nineteenth century. He not only gave the land for St. John’s Memorial Cemetery in 1867, but also donated property and buildings for the future Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1889. His wife, a distant cousin, was member of the Floyd -Jones family from the south shore of Long Island.
And the Angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Luke 1: 30-33.
This window depicts the moment when the Angel Gabriel announced to the young virgin Mary that she had been chosen by God to bring his son into the world. Although betrothed to Joseph, the child would not be his.
Townsend Howard Jones
Mary Elizabeth Hewlett
Joshua Thomas Jones
Townsend Jones was a prominent businessman, who served not only on the Vestry of St. John’s (1858-1869), but was also a Junior and Senior Warden afterwards. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, was his first cousin, and was born in the Hewlett house, which is now the Rectory.
The Sharp and Steele Windows
And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiments became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah. Luke 9: 29-30
This window depicts the Biblical event whereby Jesus ascends to a mountain and is transformed bodily. He becomes radiant, and this is the most dramatic display of Jesus’ divinity. The narrative is a further revelation (after his baptism) of his identity as the Son of God.
Charles H. Jones
Born Nov. 6, 1804
Died Jan. 23, 1882
Charles Hewlett Jones was a very well respected and accomplished member of the Jones Family. Part of the “Hill Folk” branch of the family (the only Jones clan that chose to live inland from the water), Charles H. was not only active in the whaling industry, but ran the family’s extensive farm and brick yard operations in Cold Spring Harbor and West Neck L.I.
The Beloved Disciple
“The Beloved Disciple” has been considered by many to be St. John the Evangelist. However, through the centuries, scholars have debated this.
This particular window representation has often been mistaken for the Virgin Mary, and in some parish writings has been described as such. The very feminine representation of this male disciple would account for the identification error.
In Memory of John Gardiner Jones
1873 by John D. Jones
John Gardiner Jones was the only son of Charles H. Jones and Elizabeth Gracie Gardiner Jones (Gardiner’s Island). He died of tuberculosis when he was 29 years old, and is entombed in the vault above the church.
And when he said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1: 9
This window depicts Jesus Christ’s physical ascent into heaven, forty days after his resurrection. The faithful below, in awe, are shown witnessing this miracle.
Elizabeth Hewlett Jacob Hewlett
Harriette A. Hewlett John Divine Hewlett
Phoebe A. Chase Emma E. Hewlett
This window is a memorial to the family of Jacob and Elizabeth Hewlett– their son John and his two wives, and the their daughter Phoebe. This family line began in Rockaway, Long Island (Village of Hewlett), and many are buried at the ancient site of Mt. Nebo in Woodbury L.I.
The altar, or reredos window on the south end of the chancel is comprised of three round arch lancet windows. The center window is a depiction of St. John the Evangelist holding a chalice with a green snake in it. According to legend – not scripture – when St. John was in Ephesus he was given a cup of poisoned wine. Before he drank it, he blessed it, and it was at this moment that the satanic serpent emerged.
The right lancet window depicts the “dove,” symbol of the Holy Spirit. The left window depicts a lamb holding a banner –”the Lamb of God,” or the “Agnus Dei.”
The center window is dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Isaac Sherwood, our first Rector.
The left window is dedicated to John H. Jones, founder of the whaling industry, and his wife Loretta. Also memorialized is their daughter Mary Elizabeth Averill.
The right window is a memorial to Sarah H. Jones, known as “lawyer Sarah,” for her brilliant legal mind, and Phoebe J. Hewlett, sister of John H. and Sarah H. Jones.
This window had been covered completely with a dossal curtain for 70 years until it was restored for the renovation of the church in 2012.