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The Windows of St. Stephens

Written by Mrs. “Fritzi” King, edited by Dr. Patricia Palmer, and dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Robert “Fritzi” King. Published in 2004, 150 years after the church was consecrated.

In recognition of 150 years of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ridgeway, SC, we welcome you to our sanctuary. As the letters of the alphabet are symbols of our language, decorative church artwork contains symbols of the language of our faith. The windows of St. Stephen's Episcopal church tell us of a story, the journey of faith that we all take. All of the windows are given in memory of past members of St. Stephen's.

There are only a few things you need to know when you read this story in St. Stephen's or any other church:

A SYMBOL is divinely created or God-given, such as The Lamb of God, The Fish or The Dove.

An EMBLEM is a representation of an attribute, truth or doctrine, such as The Triangle, Circle, Keys of St. Peter, the Sword of St. Paul. The Cross is an emblem of our Lord.

The NIMBUS surrounds the heads of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, Angels, Apostles, Saints and Martyrs. The only place the Nimbus is used in St. Stephen's Church is in the center panel of the altar triptych. The dove has a nimbus as a representation of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The figure of Christ as the Good Shepherd has a nimbus to signify the second person of the Trinity, The Son.

As you enter the Church Nave through the west doors, the story begins at the first window on your right and then moves immediately to your left for windows two, three, four and five, then across the center aisle to windows six and seven.

The symbolism described below is found in the background of all of the Nave windows and the side windows of the Altar Triptych. Scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Bible.

The symbolism of the VINE and GRAPES speaks to each generation and to each person individually as to who we are and to what we are called to do.

"I am the vine, you are the branches..." John 15:5 "You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another." John 15:16 -17

The ICHTHUS (which is the translation of the Greek (IXΘYΣ) is the conventionalized form of the fish minus fins and tail. A fish was the earliest Christian symbol. The main symbol of each window is placed within the Ichthus. "'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.'" Mark 1:17

At the top and bottom of each window is the conventionalized form of a GOLDEN DAISY, the symbol of the innocence of the Holy Child.

The FLEUR de LIS in all the windows is a symbol of the Holy Trinity, the virgin, the annunciation, Mary the Mother of Jesus, or the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ when it is combined with the IHS as in the rose window over the West doors.


The Windows


a. The RAINBOW is a symbol of God's promise to Noah in Gen. 9:12 -13. "God said, 'This is the sign of the convenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

b. the STAR takes us from the Old Testament to the New Testament: The star of Jacob, the star of Jesse, the star of Bethlehem. This is the great symbol of the Epiphany when Christ was made "manifest to the Gentiles." The old testament prohecies read: "...a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel." Numbers 24:17. "The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying 'A son has been born to Naomi' They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David." Ruth 4:17 "And nations shall come to your light and Kings to the brightness of your rising" Isaiah 60:3. The fulfillment of the STAR is given in Matthew 2:1-2, "In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking, 'Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.'" In 2 Peter 1:19b Jesus is spoken of as the "morning star" and in Rev. 22:16 Christ called himself "the bright morning star."

c. The SHELL is the symbol of our Lord's Baptism. At the baptism of Jesus, we are for the first time, made fully aware of the Trinity. "And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.'" Matthew 3:16 -17.



Matthew's Gospel narrative traces Jesus' human genealogy. Mark's Gospel presents Christ as the Servant of the Lord. Luke stresses the atoning sacrifice of Jesus in his Gospel while John shows us the mind of Christ. "And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.'" Mark 16:15. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were to baptize, to teach and to preach the Good News. The ROPE is a symbol of being bound as Christ was bound before Pilate.


a. A Ω, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Rev. 1:8

b. Shepherd's CROOK / Bishop's CROZIER The Bishop's Crozier resembles a shepherd's crook and signifies the Bishop's duty to seek the lost, just as a shepherd uses a crook to draw sheep out of danger. "For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of our souls." I Peter 2:25. The Crozier was first used in the 7th Century.

c. The CUP, full to overflowing with blood and water and upon an altar, becomes the sacrifice. "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." I Cor. 11:25 The Christ is the first and last, the beginning and end, the Shepherd and overseer of our souls and has given his life overflowing in the cup on the altar of sacrifice.


"Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." Rev. 2:10b There are two LAPPETS (fringed bands) hanging down from the CROWN and resemble those that hang from the back of a Bishop's MITRE (headdress). They resemble book markers and represent the Old and New Testaments, a reminder of the ceremony in which a book of the Gospel is placed upon a bishop's head at consecration. They show what sacred message he should preach.



The BUTTERFLY is a symbol of the resurrection and eternal life. As the butterfly leaves the pupa and soars upward with a new body, so through Jesus Christ are His followers born to a new life. "Therefore we have been buried with Him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4




The HARP is a symbol of David, the psalmist, and also of heavenly music and joy. The treble and bass clefts and the staffs bring us into the music of today's Church where we rejoice and sing praise. "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises unto the Lord with the lyre (harp) and the sound of melody." Psalm 98:4-5



Stephen was a Deacon and was martyred in the First Century. He is the patron Saint of this church. The great golden rays emanating from the red cross are a symbol of the Glory of God and the three stones are an emblem of martyrdom. "Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." Acts 6:8 "But filled with the Holy Spirit he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:55 "...but they covered their ears and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him." Acts 7:57-58

St. Stephen's Church was named after a parish in the South Carolina Low Country where the founders originated.



A TRIPTYCH is a three-paneled painting, carving or window normally behind the altar.

The center panel is of Christ with staff as the GOOD SHEPHERD of his sheep. He is robed in royal vestments. Above His head is the descending DOVE symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Both have the three rayed NIMBUS denoting divinity.

The left panel is of a BURNING LAMP and an open BIBLE. "I am the light of the world." John 8:12 And the Bible is the Word of God.

The right panel is of a CHALICE, GRAPES and WHEAT. All are suitable for placement near the altar. They center our mind on the Eucharist, The Lord's Supper.

The center panel's plaque reads:
To the Glory of God in Memory of
Edward Gendron Palmer, I
One of the founders of St. Stephen's Church
The left panel's plaque reads:
To the Glory of God in Memory of
Dr. James Davis and his wife,
Catherine Ross Davis
The right panel's plaque reads:
To the Glory of God in Memory of
Dr. John Peyre Thomas and his wife,
Charlotte Couturier Thomas

There are three other windows in the sanctuary that have no direct symbolism. These are the "radiant" windows placed in the walls flanking either side of the altar. Their gem-like colors reflect on the altar linens and the vestments of those serving at the altar and are a glorious sight to behold.

"...but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness into this marvelous light." I Peter 2:9 "Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good." Genesis 1:3 "...but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another..." I John 1:7 "Again Jesus spoke to them saying, 'I am the light of the world...'" John 8:12

Flanking the Altar Triptych: Right (inside the rail)
Charles Edward Thomas, 1844 - 1887
Anne C. Thomas, 1840 - 1916
Right (outside the rail)
Robert Charlton Thomas, 1877 - 1951
Rosa Woodruff Taft, 1879 - 1941
Left (inside the rail)
Issac Couturier Thomas, 1853 - 1921


As you turn to leave the Altar, you will see high over the west doors, a round Rose-compass window. The CIRCLE of this window, without beginning or ending, shows perfection, completeness and continuity. Inside the circle is a QUATREFOIL, a design used to indicate any four fold groups of people, objects or attributes such as the four evangelists, the four Gospels, the four Greek doctors or the four Latin or Greek fathers. Above the quatrefoil are the Latin letters IHS. The letters are formed from the Greek word (IXΘYΣ) for Jesus. The Greek "Sigma" has been changed to a Latin "S." The Latin words Iesus Hominus Salvator (Jesus, Savior of Men) are used to explain the early monogram symbol. Below the circle are the Greek letters Chi Rho (X,P) coming from the Greek workd (XPIΣTOΣ) "Christos," another monogram symbol used by early Christians meaning Christ.


A History of the Stained Glass Windows
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgeway

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the history, development, and sources of the windows of the Church. Information has been drawn from existing Church histories, Mission Committee minutes, and correspondence and other documents contained in the Church archives. Gaps in the story exist, and as additional information and documentation come to light, this account will be updated and enlarged as necessary.

A brochure, The Windows of St. Stephen’s, provides a detailed description and self-guided tour of the stained-glass windows of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Published in 2004, it was written by Mrs. “Fritzi” King, edited by Dr. Patricia Palmer, and dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Robert “Fritzi” King. See tab “ St. Stephen’s Windows”.

The numbering and naming system for the windows used in the 2004 brochure is followed throughout this document to reference specific windows, regardless of the year in which they were installed.

Trends in Window Style

During the Reformation clear glass windows were expected, as stained glass containing designs and figures were equated with idolatry. This remained the norm until the influence of architect Christopher Wrenn created a “Gothic Revival” in church architecture and window styles. This style, known as Wrenn-Gibbs, greatly influenced church design in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The plain windows of the Reformation began to be replaced by stained glass.

American soldiers returning from World Wars I and II described the beauty of the stained glass windows found in European cathedrals, further encouraging the trend in this country toward replacing clear glass windows with stained glass.

In older and/or less wealthy churches a variety of alternatives to stained glass were employed, such as papered, marbleized, or frosted glass. As reported in the church history ca. 1870-1890, the three altar windows of St. Stephen’s were originally frosted glass and then were papered. Later, all the remaining windows were papered and later repapered by the widow of Col. David DuBose Gaillard after his death.

Examples of these various materials are found in the various windows throughout St. Stephen’s. A frosted glass pane remains in the vestry; the window below the Altar Triptych appears to be covered with marbleized paper; and the original windows (at present stored under the Parish Hall) appear to be a combination of clear and papered, at least one of which is papered in a stained glass design.

Excerpts from Church Histories

1870s – 1890s

“The three altar windows were originally frosted glass. Miss Henrietta Eleanor Thomas procured the first paper and her brother, Charles E. Thomas, arranged it on the new clear glass windows. Some years later the ladies of the church put paper on the other windows. Following the death of Colonel David DuBose Gaillard, his widow repapered all the windows, as well as the old red carpet being replaced by a green one….”

“Mr. Charles Thomas was treasurer; lay reader during the ‘70’s (1870s) and ‘80’s (1880s); he put the paper on the windows. Mrs. Amanda Davis Castle gave the altar hangings for Lent during the ‘90’s (1890s). Miss Henrietta Thomas gave the stained glass paper for the church windows.”

Source: Historical Sketch of Cedar Creek Mission, by Charles Edward Thomas. 1934.


“In 1948 new stained-glass windows began to replace the old papered-glass ones. As reads the inscription on the center window (Altar Triptych: The Good Shepherd) above the Altar ‘To the Glory of God and in memory of Edward Gendron Palmer, I, one of the founders of St. Stephen’s,’ this stands as a lasting tribute of love and devotion presented by Edward Gendron Palmer, IV. At the same time, equal gratitude was shown by the Thomas and Davis families in replacing and dedicating the two small windows on either side of the Altar to the memory of Dr. John Peyre Thomas and his wife Charlotte Couturier Thomas (Altar Triptych: Chalice, Grapes and Wheat), and Dr. James Davis and his wife Catherine Ross Davis Altar Triptych: Burning Lamp). The rose window (The West Window) in the upper west end of the church was dedicated to the memory of Rosa Taft Thomas (1859-1941)….

Source: Historical Sketch “The Last Twenty Years, by Mrs. B.M. Palmer, 1954


“The following year, 1949, three more stained-glass windows were added, each harmonizing in color and beauty with the previous ones. The window beside the organ (which was then located at the front South side of the nave) bearing the musical symbols (Window VI, The Harp Window) was given in memory of Harriett Woodward Palmer (1837-1893), who served faithfully many years as organist. It was presented by her grandchildren. Opposite the side entrance is the window (Window III, The Christ Window) presented by the family of Norman Woodward Palmer and dedicated to his memory and to that of his wife, Harriet Pagan Palmer. The third window (Window VII, St. Stephen’s Window), at that time was made possible through the kind expression of a former beloved minister and his wife, the late Rev. Mr. and Mrs. W. Preston Peyton, who in his will bequeathed $1,000.00 as a memorial to Martha LeCompte Black DesPortes (1856-1928). Since the bequest specified that the amount be used by discretion of the vestry, it was decided by them and the DesPortes family that a window be placed in her memory and the remaining money be used for new overhead lights. This was done, and the window selected is the one between the side entrance and the organ….”

Source: Historical Sketch of Cedar Creek Mission. Addenda: The Last Twenty Years. By Mrs. B.M. Palmer. August, 1954

“On May 29, 1949, Bishop Gravatt, assisted by the rector (Rev. Joseph N. Bynum) dedicated three windows in memory of founders of the Church: Dr. James Davis and his wife Catherine Ross (Altar Triptych, Burning Lamp); Edward Gendron Palmer (Altar Triptych, Good Shepherd); Dr. John Peyre Thomas and his wife, Charlotte Couturier (Altar Triptych, Chalice, Grapes and Wheat); and a tablet in memory of Richard Ashe Meares, vestryman, lay reader and warden for many years…. On the feast of the Circumcision, a window (The West Window) was dedicated in memory of Rosa Taft (1859-1941), wife of Robert Charlton Thomas, warden of the church….”

Source: “Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina; List of Parishes, Missions, etc. with Sketches: St. Stephen’s Ridgeway”. P. 606 ( circa 1957)


“In March, 1951, our present rector, the Mr. Rev. Richard L. Sturgis, began his work and services in St. Stephen’s….”

“Three additional memorial windows (Flanking the Altar Triptych) were donated by the descendants of the Thomas families. They were placed one (Right [outside the rail]) in the chancel by the lectern to the memory of Robert Charlton Thomas (1877-1951) and his wife, Rosa Woodruff Taft (1879-1941); the other two were placed in the Sanctuary on either side of the Altar rail. One (Left [inside the rail]) was given in memory of Isaac Couturier Thomas 1853-1921) and the other (Right [inside the rail]) in memory of Charles Edward Thomas (1844-1887) and his wife, Anne (Annie) C. Thomas (1840-1916). All of these have meant much to the life of St. Stephen’s and they richly deserve these beautiful and lasting tributes.”

Source: Historical Sketch of Cedar Creek Mission. Addenda: The Last Twenty Years. By Mrs. B.M. Palmer. August 1954


An addendum to the History of St. Stephen’s, written for the Bicentennial Celebration, provides a list of gifts and memorial made to St. Stephen’s during the past nineteen years. Among those gifts are “a beautiful stained-glass window with a golden butterfly (Window V, The Resurrection Window) was given by the family of Sara McCullough Palmer (1876-1971) in memory of her long and loving service to St. Stephen’s”…. “Another interesting sidelight is the center cushion of the Altar Rail, the St. Stephen’s design being copied from the window (Window VII, St. Stephen’s Window) in memory of Mrs. H. W. DesPortes (1856-1928) and worked by her granddaughter, Ruth DesPortes Metcalfe.”

(While the precise date is not given, Window V would have been installed between 1971 and July 1976.)

Source: Bicentennial Celebration: Addendum to the “History of St. Stephen’s Ridgeway” by Eleanor Sease Milling, July 4, 1976.

Excerpts from Mission Committee Minutes

This process is documented in the minutes of the Vestry meetings through the following entries:

March 15, 1948 - “On the evening of March 15, 1948 a meeting of the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Church was held at the home of R.C. Thomas at eight o’clock…. Rev. J.N. Bynum then had secretary read an application to the rector and vestry from E.G. Palmer and Mrs. Susie Ruff to install a stain (sic) glass window above the altar as a memorial to Edward Gendron Palmer, I. Rev. J.N. Bynum told us of the responsibilities of Vestry and minister in this regard to requests from parties wishing to install memorial windows in the future. After much discussion about putting in suitable and harmonious windows R.C. Thomas advised us that the Davis and Thomas families were also anxious to put in the two windows on each side of Altar and he thought it would be advisable to have the three put in at the same time so as to have the three in harmony with each other. The (requests for) permissions to install these two windows were not submitted but he said they would be.

Mr. R.C. Thomas then resolved that: ‘In view of fact that there may be those desiring to put Memorials in the Church that the Vestry adopt a policy of requiring that a written request be submitted to the Vestry before such memorials could be placed in the Church and that the Vestry reserve the privilege of appointing a committee to work with those requesting the permission to install the Memorial. This is done in view of selecting suitable and harmonious Memorials.’

This resolution was seconded by D.W. Ruff and unanimously passed. R.C. Thomas then moved that we grant permission to the Palmers to install the window over the altar and to the Davis’ and Thomas’ permission to install the windows on either side of the Altar. C.C. Moore seconded motion and it passed unanimously.

C.C. Moore then moved that the Vestry express its appreciation to the members of the Palmer, Davis and Thomas families for this beautiful undertaking to memorialize these three families who were founders of St. Stephen’s Church. P.R. Scott seconded motion and it passed.

Rev. J.N. Bynum then appointed a committee composed of the rector, senior and junior wardens to work with a member of each family interested in putting in the Memorials. He requested that this committee come to Winnsboro and see the memorial windows in St. John’s Church and then possibly go on to Chester and look at a window that had recently been installed there….” (R.W. Thomas, Secretary)

April 12, 1948 - The minutes of the April 12 meeting state that… “The Committee on Memorials reported of visits to other churches to study windows and there was a general discussion as to design and quality, etc. It was left to the committee to make further study and investigation and report to the Vestry for final approval….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary) November 22, 1948 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met at the home of R.C. Thomas, Senior Warden, on the evening of November 22, 1948.

R. W. Thomas submitted designs for stained glass windows as recorded in minutes of March 15, 1948. C.C. Moore moved that the designs be approved and that the windows be accepted. This motion was seconded by N.H. Palmer and unanimously passed….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

May 29, 1949 - Minutes of the Vestry at St. Stephen’s Church reflect that “During the service of Morning Prayer on Sunday, May 29, 1949 held by Bishop A.S. Thomas, Bishop J.J. Gravatt and Rev. J.N. Bynum; the three beautiful stained glass windows recently installed in the chancel of the church were dedicated to the Glory of God and are in memory of those designated in the minutes of March 15, 1948. This service had a congregation of one hundred fifty people.” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

July 5, 1949 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met at the home of R.C. Thomas, Senior Warden, on the evening of July 5, 1948.

Mr. Thomas called the meeting to order and spoke of Rev. Peyton’s will which bequeathed $1200.00 to provide a memorial to Mrs. Mattie Black Des Portes. He then introduced a request from Mrs. T.L. Peay, daughter of Mrs. DesPortes, that we use part of this fund to install a stained glass window to the memory of her mother ( VII St. Stephen’s). D.W. Ruff moved that part of this fund be used to install a stained glass window in the first window East of the South entrance to the church. This was seconded by R.W. Thomas and was passed. Mr. Thomas then introduced a request from Mr. N.H. Palmer and others to install a window in honor of their father and mother, Norman W. and Harriet P. Palmer. C.C. Moore moved that they be granted permission to install stained glass in the window facing the South entrance of the Church. This was seconded by D.W. Ruff and it was so passed.

Mr. Thomas next presented a request from Dorothy Meares Coleman and others to install a stained glass window to the memory of their grandmother, Harriet Woodward Palmer (Mrs. John Davis Palmer) (VI The Harp). R.W. Thomas moved that they be granted to install such in the second window East of the South Entrance to the Church. D.W. Ruff seconded this and it was passed. R.C. Thomas and family requested permission to install stained glass in the round window above the West entrance of the Church. This window to be in memory of Mrs. Rosa Taft Thomas (The West Window). C.C. Moore moved that this permission be granted. This was seconded by D.W. Ruff and so passed. Sketches of designs were shown by Mr. Thomas….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

“Note: Letters have been sent to Mrs. Peay, Mr. Palmer, and Mrs. Coleman stating action outlined above.” (CCM)

September 2, 1949 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Church met at the home of R.C. Thomas, Senior Warden, on the evening of September 2, 1949….

He then showed some new designs for side windows and submitted the design for the Memorial Window to Mrs. Thomas. C.C. Moore moved that this design be accepted. P.R. Scott seconded the motion and it was so passed. Billy Traylor stated that Mrs. W.H. Ruff and others wished permission to install a window Memorial. The formal request to be made later….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

January 1, 1950 - Vestry minutes record that “At a Dedication Service at 4:00 p.m. January 1, 1950 Bishop A.S. Thomas dedicated to the Glory of God a beautiful Rose Window (The West Window) of stained glass created as a memorial to Rosa Taft Thomas. This beautiful window is high in the West wall of the Church. Also dedicated to the Glory of God was a beautiful hand made Credence Table made by Bishop Thomas. One hundred people attended this service.” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

January 15, 1951 - Vestry minutes record that “On the evening of January 15, 1951 the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met at the home of the Senior Warden, P.R. Scott, who opened and presided…. Mr. Scott also discussed proposed Memorial Windows for the Palmers and DesPortes families and also discussed the every-member canvass….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

Undated Entry - An undated entry in the Vestry minutes reports that “During the Month of November 1951 an oil burning furnace, three Memorial Windows and lights have been installed in the Church….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

December 6, 1951 - Vestry minutes record that “At the Evening Service, Thursday, December 6, 1951 Bishop John J. Gravatt confirmed a class of nine. He then dedicated the following: Lights and a stained glass window (III The Christ Window) as a Memorial to Norman Woodward Palmer and his wife Harriet Pagan Palmer, a stained glass window (VI The Harp Window) as a memorial to Harriet Woodward Palmer, and an electric organ as a memorial to the departed loved ones of those who contributed to it. (The organ was installed in March 1948 but had not been dedicated until this date.) After services a reception was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Palmer in honor of our Bishop and the newly confirmed members.” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

December 14, 1951 - Vestry minutes report “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met at the home of D.W. Ruff on the evening of December 14, 1951…. R.W. Thomas read a letter from Payne and Co. concerning the new memorial windows, light, and bronze plaque….” (C.C. Moore, Secretary)

1957 - “Two memorial windows were installed in February 1957. The one beside the font in memory of Norman Hart Palmer was given by his family (Window I, Covenant Window). The other across the aisle (Window II, TheGospel Window) was presented by Katherine Thomas Lindquest to the memory of Anna Hassell Thomas.”

Source: Appendage to “Historical Sketch of St. Stephens Episcopal Church” by Mrs. B. M. Palmer, August 2, 1957

Note: The font was originally located to the right upon entering the main entrance doors.

February 3, 1957 - Vestry minutes record that “It is to be noted that the two Memorial Windows to Norman W. Palmer (III, The Christ Window) and to Anna Hassell Thomas (II, The Gospel Window) have been re-worked and installed this past week.” (C.C. Moore)

September 10, 1957 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met at the home of P.R. Scott on the evening of September 10, 1957 and was opened in prayer by the rector…. There was presented a request from Mrs. Hammond Salley to secure permission to install a figured stained-glass window in the Church in memory of her mother, Mrs. W.H. Ruff (Eloise Davis Ruff). There was some discussion on this and it was the general opinion of the Vestry that no window in the Nave of the Church should contain figures, but should contain symbols so as to conform to, and with, windows already installed. (This is in accord with prior ruling of the Vestry.) R.W. Thomas was instructed to write Mrs. Salley concerning this.” (C.C. Moore, Secretary; Assisted by R.W. Thomas)

October 1, 1957 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s met at the home of W.W. Hinnant on the evening of October 1, 1957 and was opened with the prayer by the Rector…. R.W. Thomas reported that he had written to, and talked with, Mrs. Salley concerning a window to her mother.”

October 21, 1958 - “A call meeting of the Vestry of St. Stephen’s was held at the home of W.W. Hinnant at 8:00 on October 21, 1958…. R.W. Thomas read a letter from J.W., B.M., L.K. and Susie Palmer Ruff requesting that the last window be reserved for a loyal and devoted member of their family. Motion made to accept – carried.” (J.W. Milling, Jr., Secretary)

The Mission Committee minutes from 1958 through January 4, 1970 reveal no further reference to the installation or dedication of Window IV, TheCrown of Life Window, given in memory of Eloise Davis Ruff.

December 13, 1962 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s met in the Parish House at 7:30 on the evening of December 13, 1962…. Mr. Thomas stated that two of the Memorial Windows have the spelling “CATHERINE” and a bronze plaque has the spelling “CATHARINE” and it has been rumored that someone may request that the spelling on the windows be changed. It is now the decision of the Vestry that no changes be made in Memorial Stained Glass Windows after they have been installed and dedicated….”

March 11, 1973 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met on Sunday, March 11, 1973, following the Service….

Mr. Palmer announced that work on the memorial window was going forward – the family was in contact with Mr. Payne of the stain glass studio – but would take some time to complete. The plaque noting St. Stephen’s as a historic place in the National Registry of Historic Places given by Charles E. Thomas was noted….” (Laura M. Thomas, Secretary)

April 8, 1973 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s met on April 8 following the Service of Morning Prayer….

There was a discussion of glass being put on all of the stained-glass windows as protection – it will be placed on the window in memory of Miss Sarah Palmer….” (Window V, The Resurrection Window in memory of Sara McCollough Palmer)

May 14, 1973 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met on Sunday, May 5 following the Service of Morning Prayer….

A discussion of insuring the stained-glass windows was held – there is no insurance to date on these reported by Mr. Ellison. A motion was made that Mr. Ellison explore the possibility of insuring the windows as compared to the cost of protective glass. The motion made by Edward Palmer, seconded by John Sanders, carried.” (Laura M. Thomas, Secretary)

August 12, 1973 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church met on Sunday, August 12, following the Service of Morning Prayer….

Mr. Robert Ellison reported that the stained-glass windows could be covered at approximately $7.00 a window a year insuring the windows up to $1000.00. Each window is to be specifically described in the policy. As this was a considerable less cost than the protective glass, a motion was made by Mr. Palmer that this be done; it was seconded by Mr. Sanders and motion was passed.

Mr. Palmer reported that protective glass had been installed [in] the three Palmer windows including the newly installed window as a memorial to Miss Sara Palmer. (The Good Shepherd in the Altar Triptych, Window V and Window VI) Mrs. Thomas suggested that a letter be written from the Vestry to Mrs. John Nicholson and the Palmer Family expressing appreciation for the newly installed window. This was unanimously agreed to….” (Laura M. Thomas, Secretary)

September 10, 1973 - “The Vestry of St. Stephen’s met on Sunday, September 10, following the Service of Morning Prayer…. Robert E. Ellison announced that the stained-glass windows had been insured – all windows for $800.00; chancel windows (large ones) for $1,000.00. (insured in regard to replacement)…”

A letter dated September 13, 1973 to Mary from Laura M. Thomas, Secretary to the Vestry, expresses appreciation of the congregation to her and her family for “the beautiful stained-glass window given as a fitting memorial to Sara….”

September 7, 1975 - “The vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgeway met on Sunday morning following the Service of Morning Prayer…. Robert Ellison reported the church property had a coverage of $56,000 on all property, excluding the stained-glass windows. He stated that this was approximately one-quarter of what it should be. A discussion was held about the insurance coverage. Mr. Ellison gave an approximate figure of $130,000 on the buildings, contents, and stained-glass windows. He discussed with the Vestry the value to be put on these. A figure of $1,000 a window was estimated on the 15 windows. Mr. Ellison asked for permission to work up a proposal on insurance coverage. He suggested that a broader coverage be put on the windows than the building. A motion was made by B.Y. Palmer that we give Mr. Ellison the authority to work up an insurance estimate of $130,000 coverage and bring it to the Vestry meeting again. The motion was seconded by Robert Arndt, Jr. and was carried….”

January 11, 1976 - An entry in the Vestry minutes indicates the Vestry authorized payment of a new insurance policy on the Church and Parish House.

February --, 1982 - “The Mission Development Committee met February, 1982 at the home of the Jon Crisp’s….

Item 5: Mr. Hunt (Vicar) called attention to the fact that some care was needed for the stained glass window over the West wall. Discussion following: window is buckling in. Possible to have a plastic cover put over all the windows? This move would add insulation and prevent future corrosion and deterioration. Cost was discussed and a member wondered if we could use some of the $18,000 account which was intended to go toward a vicarage (no longer needed since the E.G. Palmer, Jr.’s are donating the vicarage). The interest from that money, it was reported, is already allotted in budgeted items. No action was suggested.

There was no further business. The meeting was adjourned.” (Ann Ellison, Secretary)

May --, 1982 - “The Mission Development Committee met at the Church on May --, 1982….

Item 4: Stained glass windows – Jon (Crisp) to write letter to original installer to get estimate on repair and see what needs to be done.” (Ann Ellison, Recorder)

August 13, 1982 - “The Mission Development Committee met Saturday, August 13 at the vicarage at 9:15 a.m.….

Item 9: Jon Crisp is looking into the stained glass window repair (west end of church).” (Ann Ellison, Secretary)

September 19, 1982 - “The Mission Committee of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgeway, met September 19, 1982 at the church….

Item 9: Jon Crisp has not checked with the stained glass window company.

November 9, 1982 - “The Mission Committee of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgeway, met November 9, 1982 at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Arndt, Jr…..

Item 8: Jon Crisp will bring and read a letter from the stained glass company at our next meeting.” (Ann Ellison, Secretary)

February 6, 1983 - “The Mission Committee of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgeway met February 6, 1983 at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Arndt, Jr….. It was suggested that a letter be sent general delivery to the company name remembered concerning stained glass window: Geo. L. Payne, Patterson, NJ. Someone suggested dialing telephone information for an address.” (Ann Ellison)

November 10, 1983 - “The Mission Committee met November 10 at the R. Arndt, Jr.’s….

Item 6: Children of Mrs. Bessie Palmer would like to give window behind Holy Table in loving memory of their Mother. Committee feels this should be presented to whole congregation at congregational meeting this month. Question: Should we bring up stoop project at same time? Yes.”

November 20, 1983 - “The Annual Parish Congregational Meeting was held November 20 after the morning service. Mr. Hunt opened the meeting with prayer after which he read the Parish report…. Ann Ellison, Secretary of the Mission Committee, explained a memorial request by the E.G. Palmer III family (E.G., Betty P. Branham, Susan P. Townsend). The Palmer family wish to give a stained glass window behind the Holy Table in honor of their mother, Mrs. Bessie Palmer. Committee felt the congregation should decide. The hangings were taken down so the plain glass could be observed. It was explained the hangings would become obsolete. The Palmers made it plain if the congregation favored hangings, they certainly understood. The congregation voted to accept the stained glass offering if it is in keeping with the existing window décor which is traditional. Sr. Warden asked to see the plan for the window before it was put in. The Palmers were in perfect agreement. The meeting adjourned before the need for the south door stoop project could be explained. (Ann Ellison, Secretary)

February 11, 1984 - “The Mission Committee met February 11, 1984 at 11:00 at the McGuirt’s. Mr. Hunt opened the meeting with a prayer…. The name of the stained glass window company is needed. It was suggested that Charles Thomas be asked about this by Charlie Moore….” (Sara Faucett, Secretary)

January 13, 1985 - “The Annual Parish meeting was held January 13, 1985 after the service of Holy Communion…. The stained glass windows that were to be given by the Palmer family was mentioned in the minutes. Mr. Caridad (Vicar) asked for clarification and progress. Betty Branham said that they had not found the name of the company that could do this work. After a discussion Mr. Caridad appointed a committee of Charlie Moore, Mr. Caridad, Betty Branham, Bubba Palmer and Susan Townsend.”

February 3, 1985 - “The Mission Committee of St. Stephen’s met February 3 rd, 1985 after service of Morning Prayer…. Mention was made again concerning the memorial window to Bessie and Gen Palmer. Again it was noted that the rose window needs repairing….”

March 3, 1985 - “The monthly meeting of St. Stephen’s Mission Committee was held March 3, 1985 after the service of Holy Communion…. Mr. Caridad said two companies had been contacted about the stained glass window behind the altar. There are several possibilities: (1) to finish to the re-table (2)to finish to the altar or finish all the way down. Because finishing all the way down will involve some structural changes, the diocese must approve. Mr. Caridad was not to make any big changes in the church without their approval for the first twelve months of his ministry.” (Sara Faucett, Secretary)

April 14, 1985 - “The Mission Committee met April 14, 1985…. Mr. Caridad will talk to Bubba Palmer about the window in the church behind the altar. Does he really want the window or just a memorial to his parents?…

June 4, 1985 - “The Mission Committee met June 4 at the home of Bob Ellison…. Mr. Caridad said the stained glass window to be given by the Palmers is still up in the air. More work needs to be completed to see what this move will mean – such as linens, etc. We need a drawing to let the congregation make the final decision….” (Sara Faucett, Secretary)

August 28, 1985 - “The Mission Committee met August 28…. Mr. Caridad brought back the information that the Wippel Company is the only company that can match the stained glass windows in quality and color. A representative from the company from England is to be in the U.S. in September. He is to come to St. Stephen’s to give us his ideas about the window and if it is possible to move the altar and retable and how this would look. It was moved and seconded that Jon Caridad would set up a meeting with the Palmers and handle this matter….” (Sara Faucett, Secretary)

October 18, 1985 - “The Mission Committee met October 18…. The project of the windows and moving the altar is settled probably. Mr. Caridad will send a letter to the Palmer family….”

December 8, 1985 - “The annual Parish meeting was held December 8 after church services…. When the questions about the window behind the altar was brought up, Mr. Caridad said he felt it was in the process of being settled….”

In 1985 interest was expressed in replacing the window below the center panel of the Altar Triptych (The Good Shepherd) and immediately behind the altar with stained glass to match the existing windows. (This window, currently hidden by the altar and dossal, has a marbleized appearance and may be papered.) If replaced, altar furnishings would have to be moved forward in order for the new stained glass to be visible.

Regarding this, a series of letters were exchanged between representatives of J. Wippell & Company Limited, Wippell Mowbray Church Furnishing Limited, and The Reverend J.A. Caridad of St. Stephen’s. There is some belief that the church contacted J. Wippell & Co. because they were the source of the original stained glass windows. However, the correspondence summarized below does not clearly confirm this. The original correspondence is on file in the St. Stephen’s archives.

The initial letter is to “Reverend and Dear Sir”, from Bryan E. Marshall of J. Wippell & Company Limited, Wippell Mowbray Church Furnishing Limited, 59 Willet Street, P.O. Box 1696, Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003.

  • August 1, 1985 – Marshall to “Reverend and Dear Sir”: This appears to be an unsolicited letter announcing that “the Director in Charge of our English Stained Glass Studios, Mr. William H. Rees, plans on traveling in your State.” Information is provided regarding arranging a visit by Mr. Rees, in the event the Church has a project under consideration.
  • August 6, 1985 – Marshall to The Reverend J.A. Caridad: Indicates receipt of correspondence and business card indicating an interest in stained glass windows, and acknowledgement of that on February 25. Marshall apologizes for the oversight, states that the Director in Charge will visit South Carolina in mid-September, and suggests that a visit by him be arranged during that time.
  • September 5, 1985 – Lily Smith, Secretary to Mr. Marshall to Caridad: Confirms Mr. Marshall’s telephone call of September 2 arranging an appointment with Mr. William H. Rees on September 23 at 7:30 p.m.

  • October 8, 1985 - Caridad to William Rees of J. Wippell and Co., Exeter, England (unsigned copy): References the visit and discussion regarding the possibility of adding to an existing window in the sanctuary; encloses a photograph of “the three windows which are in the sanctuary”…. “I do know that the changes in the ‘furniture’ which would accompany completion of the window have caused considerable conversation here”.
  • October 22, 1985 – Rees to Caridad: References the photograph of the East window group, states that J. Wippel has no record of this project, and that therefore it is highly unlikely that they did the original work; explains problems associated with moving the altar forward to expose the lower part of the central window; suggests two alternatives.
  • November 4, 1985 – Marshall to Caridad: References being briefed by Mr. Rees and states: “…I think you are asking for trouble in getting a center light of stained glass going to within a couple of feet of the floor at the main focal point of the church, namely, the Altar area.” Provides cost estimates of each of the two alternatives if the church decides to proceed regardless.
  • December 14, 1985 – Caridad to Betty (Palmer Branham): Provides copies of the two letters from J. Wippel & Company to be shared “with the rest of the family” so decisions can be made regarding whether or not to follow through; thanks Betty for “agreeing to stand for election to the Vestry of St. Stephen’s” in 1986.

1987 - The Inspection Check List for Building Maintenance (September 30, 1987) includes:

“* 5 (b) Window frames and sash properly caulked and painted, especially stained glass windows”

Notes indicate that “Items marked with an * are especially important”.

Source: Inspection Check List for Building Maintenance (09/30/1987) may be found in the Insurance folder of the St. Stephen’s archives.

January 19, 1992 - “The Mission Committee met at the Parish House on January 19, 1992 at 7:00 p.m. …. The Vicar then noted that one of the stained glass windows installed by one of the Palmer family – the window containing a butterfly – was supposed to have a memorial to Susie Ruff added upon her death. The cost to incorporate her name into the existing window would be very expensive, so the Vicar proposed that an appropriate brass plaque with her name be attached to the window instead. Mr. Ellison moved that the Mission Committee accept this proposal with the proviso that the Memorial Committee review the wording on the plaque; Mrs. McGuirt seconded and all members were in favor….” (Cindy Yarberry, Clerk)

Dating and Source Documentation

Two theories have been presented regarding the manufacture of St. Stephen’s stained glass windows: Tiffany Studios of New York; or J. Wippell & Company Limited, an English company with an office in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Evidence to date does not support either of these theories. Instead, it suggests George L. Payne, Inc. of Patterson, New Jersey as a probable source. (See Vestry Minutes of December 14, 1951)

In the October 22, 1985 letter from William Rees of J. Wippell and Company of Exeter, England to The Reverend J.A. Caridad, Mr. Rees writes: “J. Wippell has no record of this project, and that therefore it is highly unlikely that they did the original work”.

In June 2007 Father Tommy Dwyer, Vicar of St. Stephen’s recounted being told that during the visit the J. Wippell & Co. representative said the existing windows may be the work of Tiffany, adding that they could not now be replaced or matched because the same quality work is no longer available. However, no written documentation, in correspondence or Church records, confirms this.

Research into the production of stained glass windows indicates that many studios and artists affixed signature plates to their work – often in the lower right hand corner – but absence of an inscription cannot rule out a particular studio or artist. No signature plates are visible on the existing windows.

Evidence supporting George L. Payne, Inc. as the probable source is as follows:
  • Minutes from the March 15, 1948 Vestry meeting record that the Rev. J.N. Bynum appointed a committee, to include a member of each family interested in putting in memorial windows, “come to Winnsboro and see the memorial windows at St. John’s Church and then possibly go on to Chester and look at a window that had recently been installed there.”
  • Minutes from the December 14, 1951 Vestry Minutes record that “…R.W. Thomas read a letter from Payne and Co. concerning the new memorial windows, light, and bronze plaque….”
  • The History of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Winnsboro, SCby Sharon Goff Avery states that St. John’s purchased windows in the 1960s – 1970s. These windows replaced the old translucent windows. Bids were received from R. Geissler, Inc. of Little Neck, NY and from George L. Payne, Inc. of Patterson, NJ. Payne was chosen to do the work, and that October, 1972 correspondence is on file between St. John’s Church and Payne Stained Glass Associates.
  • Minutes from the March 11, 1973 Vestry meeting record that “…Mr. Palmer announced that work on the memorial window was going forward – the family was in contact with Mr. Payne of the stain glass studio…”
  • A typed document headed “St. Stephen’s 1982 Budget Proposal” does not contain a line item related to stained glass windows. However, a hand written note at the bottom of the page reads, “George L. Payne Studios, Patterson, NJ – stained glass windows”.

References to “Payne and Co.”, “George L. Payne, Inc.”, and “Payne Stained Glass Associates”, occur in the records of St. John’s and St. Stephen’s Churches between 1951 and the 1980s. Regarding St. Stephen’s, references are to the installation of The West Window; Window V, The Resurrection; and to installation of protective glass (1973) for Windows V, VI, and The Good Shepherd Window.

Additional Notes and Attachments

Mission Committee Minutes Ledger: “Dates when action taken on burial lots and other pertinent information” (p. 300)

The following are references to action dates specific to the stained glass windows:

  • January 1, 1950 – Rose Window and Credence Table dedicated
  • December 6, 1951 – New cathedral lights, three stained glass windows and organ dedicated
  • December 4, 1953 – Windows in memory of C.E. and Anne C. Thomas (right, inside the rail); Isaac C. Thomas (left, outside the rail); Robert C. and Rosa T. Thomas (The West Window)
  • December 4, 1953 – A separate entry notes “three stained windows dedicated”
  • August 8, 1956 – two windows installed
  • February, 1957 – Windows in memory of N.H. Palmer (Window III The Christ Window) and of Anna H. Thomas (Window II The Gospel Window)
  • October, 1958 – Memorial Window – Palmer
  • November, 1972 – Memorial Window – Palmer


  • St. Stephen’s 1982 Budget Proposal with handwritten note referencing George L. Payne Studios
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Ridgeway, S.C.: undated but appears to be the insurance workup referenced in the September 7, 1975 and January 11, 1976 Mission Committee minutes

Dates Installed and Dedicated:

Window No.


Memorial to





Norma Hart Palmer

Feb. 1957

(Oct. 1958?)



Anna Hassell Thomas

Feb. 1957




Norman Woodward Palmer & Harriet Pagan Palmer


Dec. 6, 1951


Crown of Life

Eloise Davis Ruff





Sara McCullough Palmer

1971-76 ca.

(Nov. 1972?)

(Nov. 1972?)



Harriett Woodward Palmer


Dec. 6, 1951


St. Stephen’s

Martha LeCompte Black Desportes


Dec. 6, 1951

Altar Triptych






Good Shepherd

Edward Gendron Palmer I


May 29, 1949


Burning Lamp

Dr. James Davis & Catherine Ross Davis


May 29, 1949


Chalice, Grapes and Wheat

Dr. John Peyre Thomas & Charlotte Couturier Thomas


May 29, 1948

Radiant, Flanking Altar Triptych

Right, (inside the rail)

Charles Edward Thomas & Anne C. Thomas


Dec. 4, 1953


Right (outside the rail)

Robert Charlton Thomas & Rosa Woodruff Taft


Dec. 4, 1953


Left (inside the rail)

Isaac Couturier Thomas


Dec. 4, 1953

West Window

Over the west doors

Rosa Taft Thomas

1948 ca.

Jan. 1, 1950




St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
307 Longtown Road • Ridgeway, SC 29130 • (803) 337-2905