Illumination No.1


The two smallest stained glass windows in the church are the first one encounters when entering by the north porch. The openings through the stone walls are rather like arrow slits, only about 9 inches in width, with elaborate hood mouldings on the outside. To the east the window commemorates Mrs Josephine Collis, given in 1870 by her husband Revd John Day Collis. It shows her doing good works: comforting the sick and feeding the poor. To the west the window commemorates Revd Collis himself, given in 1879 by his second wife Elizabeth, and shows him preaching from the pulpit (though not the pulpit at Holy Trinity), administering the sacrament and baptising a baby.

Both windows were made by Lavers, Barrand and Westlake at their studio in Covent Garden, London. They include glass of various body colours, with yellow silver stain and extensive painting in Gothic Revival style, of fine quality. These miniature masterpieces are among the best in the church for their artistry. The reclining patient with pale wavy hair, and white gown with exquisitely rendered folds, has a hint of the painting of Ophelia by Millais (1851).

John Day Collis was educated at Rugby, then a scholar of Worcester College, Oxford, achieving BA 1836, MA 1841, and DD 1860. He was headmaster of King Edward VI School Bromsgrove from 1842 to 1867, during which period it grew to be one of the best educational establishments in England. Then at the age of 51 he was appointed vicar of Stratford-on-Avon. During his incumbency Holy Trinity church tower was restored, the organ repaired, central heating installed, and the riverside terrace completed. In 1872 he was the founder and first warden of Trinity College, where his name can still be seen on the triangular tympanum of the building on the corner of Church Street and Chestnut Walk. He was the author of eighteen books on Latin and Greek grammar, including: ‘The Chief Tenses of Latin Irregular Verbs’ in 1854 which ran to thirty-four editions.

Following the death of his first wife Josephine at the age of 40 in 1868, in 1871 Revd Collis married Elizabeth, the widow of Rear-Admiral Curry of Shottery Hall, where they lived until his death in 1879. He was buried in the Bromsgrove cemetery along with Josephine, but his mother and three sisters are commemorated in ‘Collis Corner’, with gravestones built into the wall at the mill end of the riverside path by the church.

Lindsay MacDonald