War Memorial Window

War Memorial Window in West Wall of the Papa Stour Kirk

The stained glass window above the altar at the west end of the Kirk was commissioned by the Rev T G Reid, resident minister in Papa Stour from 1917 to 1934, and paid for by the islanders, to commemorate the six Papa men who lost their lives in the Great War.  Their names are:  Magnus Fraser, William Fraser, Thomas Sinclair, John Robert Scott, Magnus Jamieson, Bruce Fraser.

It is interesting to note the artist himself served in the trenches during the war and suffered for the rest of his life from shell shock. Two of the Papa men commemorated, Bruce Fraser and Thomas Sinclair also served in the trenches.

This window was designed by  Victor Noble Rainbird and made by Reid, Millican and Co. of Gateshead. Victor Rainbird came from Yorkshire and lived from 1899 to 1936. Although he was primarily known as an artist he was also a skilled designer of stained glass. The window in the Papa Kirk is the only surviving example of his work and illustrates Jesus calming the storm. Mark 4 v 35-39.

The window was put in on August 4th 1921. The work of taking out the old window of plain glass and putting in the new one was carried out by David Drummond, resident teacher living in the school house, and Tom Henderson of Gardie.

Later a protective grid was put on the outside but in 1957 the window had to be taken out and sent south for repair as a couple of panes had been damaged allowing water to seep in. A window of three panes of frosted glass was put in and remained in situ after the stained glass window was replaced September 15th that year. By 2005 panes in the outer protective glass had been broken and were overlaid with boarding to keep out the weather.

For the rededication of the Kirk September 16th 2006 the boarding was removed and new protective Perspex with a new frame was put in to preserve the stained glass window from any further storm damage. However, some of the stained glass itself was in need of replacement and or touching up, some of the lead fragile and the original wooden frame rotten.

 In July 2009 the firm of Cannon- Macinnes, Stained Glass Design and Conservation removed the window to their workshops in Glasgow. Here they replaced broken and chipped fragments, renewed the lead and thoroughly cleaned the window, touching up paint where necessary before re installing it in place early October. The Papa Stour History Group received a conservation grant from the Shetland Islands Council for this work.

Linda Cannon  carefully removes glass, pane by pane, and strips out the lead. Each piece of glass is carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and taken to their workshop in Glasgow.

After four months the window is returned and gently lifted back into place.           

The memorial window was re dedicated to the Glory of God during a Carol Service held in the Papa Stour Kirk December 2009


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