Trinity Memorial Church

44 Main Street

Binghamton, NY 13905

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© 2019 by Trinity Memorial Episcopal Churc9

Here you can find selected material from issues of Trinity Memorial Church's monthly newsletter, the Trinity Times.

Trinity Times

Whitefriar Window

You have to look really hard to find the little white monk in one of our beautiful stained glass windows, but once you discovered him,  it’s going to be hard to forget just where he shows up.  And there’s a fascinating story we learned only recently behind him appearing in a stained glass window.

Pictured on the left are the original Cartoon, and Our Mary and Martha Window photographed by Robert Fertitta.

In June of this year, Trinity again participated in the Sacred Sites tours offered state wide, and our focus included tour stained glass windows.  This year, we presented a challenge to our visitors to find the Whitefriar, which caused our visitors to look at the windows really closely.

What a Journey this window has presented.

Jeff Fellows, Buildings and Grounds Manager

For many years we thought that the window including this little monk was, like many others in our church, made by Wippel/Mowbray, in Exeter, England.  In April, we had Chapman Studios from Albany, NY, evaluate the condition of our windows and they pointed out this little white monk in the bottom right hand corner of one window.  Our first reaction was: how cute that the artist incorporated this little monk in the window.  The plot was about to thicken: in May, we had a gentleman, Robert Fertitta, a wonderful photographer / Organist, from Southbury, CT, ask to photograph all of Trinity’s windows.  He has taken photos of windows from 100’s of Episcopal churches in the Northeast.  We were happy to have him include our windows in his work. As we pointed out the little white monk to him, he told us that this was the signature of the Whitefriar Glass Studios, London, England.  After looking up the Whitefriar Glass Studio on the internet, we realized that we had to re-write the history of this one window.

n early July, The Corning Museum of Glass’s Rakow Research Library called Trinity.  We were told that in 2015 the Rakow Research Library had received a gift of thousands of original sketches (they refer to them as “cartoons”) of Whitefriar windows.  The Library is restoring and documenting these cartoons.  It just so happened that they were working on the cartoon of Trinity’s Martha and Mary window.  We arranged a visit to the library and we were able to see the original cartoon.  A tour of the library revealed almost 1,800 rolls of Whitefriar cartoons.  This makes it all the more coincidental that they are now working on our Martha and Mary window.  

On August 1st, the Rakow Research Library’s Chief Librarian, an Assistant Librarian, the Paper Conservator Interns, Outreach Librarians, and Media &Public Relations Manager visited Trinity to see this window in person.  They were very impressed with this window and all the other windows as well.  Jim Galbraith, Chief Librarian, was most impressed with the interest shown by the 15 Trinity members that listened to his brief history about Whitefriar and how Trinity obtained this window in 1929 under The Rev. Dr. Wilson Tanner, Trinity’s Rector at that time.  The window originally cost the church $1,000, and the subject matter was chosen by Trinity.   Whitefriar was a very prominent glass studio in London since the early 1800’s and closed in the 1980’s. Much of the Studios archives and treasures are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (The V&A), as well as some other prominent museums in London, England.  

The questions and answers with Jim were all very interesting.  There was a lot of media coverage for this event which gave Trinity and Corning Glass, Rakow Research Library some very positive exposure.  Lori Fuller, Associate Librarian, offered to take a small group of Trinity Members on a tour of the Library if there was enough interest.  The library is very impressive and well worth the time to take a tour.  At the end of their visit, we took the Corning Team to Binghamton’s United Presbyterian Church to view two very important mosaics and a Stained Glass Window created by Tiffany for the church.