The stained glass windows were part of a series of gifts made to the Church in the period 1929-1933 by Lord Blanesburgh, then resident in the Town at Greyfriars. These gifts were made in two parts. First the six windows on the east and south sides, the organ and the inner and outer oak doors to the Church, are collectively known as the Younger Memorial. This was given in memory of his brothers George and William, who had died in 1929 and 1925 respectively and the sons of the former, Edward, killed in the Boer War in 1901 and Charles, killed in France in 1917. This is inscribed in Latin on the organ casing. Second the three windows on the north front and the altar, in the Lady Chapel, are collectively known as the War Memorial.
Robert Younger, Baron Blanesburgh GBE, PC, QC was a Scottish barrister and judge. The son of James Younger and Janet McEwan, and younger brother of the 1st Viscount Younger of Leckie, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1883, and a Master of Arts in 1909. In 1884 he was called to the Bar, being appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1900 and became a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 1907. Between 1915 and 1919, he was a Judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court. Invested to the Privy Council on 25 November 1919, he was a Lord Justice of Appeal from 1919 to 1923. On 12 October 1923, he was appointed Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and was created a life peer with the title Baron Blanesburgh, of Alloa in the County of Clackmannanshire. Having been knighted on 20 April 1915, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1917. He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and received honorary doctorates of the University of Oxford, University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh. In 1932, he became Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn. He died, unmarried, in 1946 at the age of 84.
The windows were designed and created by Douglas Strachan, born in Aberdeen in 1875, who established reputation as a portrait artist and illustrator, before turning to work in stained glass. His reputation was established when he won the competition to deliver the British contribution to the Palace of Peace in The Hague, completed in 1913 and he would certainly have been known, by reputation at least, to Lord Blanesburgh. After the war, he received many commissions related to war memorials, including the Scottish War Memorial windows at Edinburgh Castle. He first visited Winchelsea during a family holiday in the area in 1928, when the windows in the Church were largely of plain glass and, shortly thereafter, received Lord Blanesburgh’s commission. It is arguably the best and most complete collection of Strachan’s work.
The windows fall into three distinct groupings, namely those at the east end, directly in front of the visitor on entering the Church, those on the south side, in the St Nicholas chapel, to the right of the visitor on entering the Church and those on the north side, in the Lady Chapel, to left of the visitor on entering the Church. The first two groups form part of the initial Blanesburgh gift.More – The East End