1881: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.

Holy Trinity Church at Bacchus Marsh contains a number of historical stained glass windows created by Ferguson & Urie dating from 1881. These windows represent memorials to pioneers of the district such as Captain William Henry Bacchus and members of the Bacchus family, and the Grant, Greene, Dalton, Wood, and Staughton families.

Photos taken 30th December 2010.

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As early as 1851 a pre-fabricated iron church imported from England, known as an “Iron Pot,” had been erected for the Anglican’s of Bacchus Marsh on land donated by the districts founding pioneer, Captain William Henry Bacchus.

The old iron church “… began to fall into the ‘sere and yellow leaf’ stage of existence…”[1] and on the 27th December 1867 a violent dust storm blew down the steeple [2] which triggered serious discussions to erect a more substantial church.

In 1869 Bishop Perry laid the foundation stone[3] for the new church but it was incorrectly laid on ground set aside for the parsonage. This, in conjunction with the formation of the new Ballarat Diocese and re-distribution of funds, caused a delay in building for a further seven years[4].

Tenders for the erection of the current church were received by architects Taylor & Wyatt in March 1876[5]. The old foundation stone, previously laid in 1869, was removed but it was found that:

“… the bottle containing the documents and coins was found to have a hole in it, and the documents were a good deal decayed in consequence…”

On the afternoon of the 20th of May 1876 Bishop Thorton re-laid[6] the foundation stone a few yards north of the original position and building commenced at the hands of the contractor Jonathon Coulson[7] of Ballarat. On the 5th of June 1877 Rev Moorehouse officially opened[8] the church free from debt thanks to additional donations by Molesworth Greene, Stephen and Samuel Staughton and W. J. Clarke.

In early 1881 a very descriptive article about Holy Trinity’s stained glass windows was published in the Bacchus Marsh Express:

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 26th March 1881, page 2.

(Note: Some words in the original article were unreadable and are shown as [??])

“Some handsome stained glass windows have been fixed in Trinity Church, Bacchus Marsh, and much improve the appearance of the interior of the church, which will, when the whole of the windows are filled in, be quite a model of [??] and elegance, both outside and inside. There is a two-light window at the western end of the church above the chief entrance, with the three [??] round windows above them, are the gift of Mr. Samuel Thomas Staughton, and are in memory of his father, the late Mr. Simon Staughton. The windows are each about 8 feet long by 1 foot wide and figures represented upon them are the Saviour and St. John, with appropriate accessories and tracery. The colours and designing will be the closest artistic criticism, and the whole reflect much credit upon Messrs. Ferguson & Urie, of Melbourne, who have executed them, as well as most of the other windows, and it is worth mentioning that Bacchus Marsh native Mr. A. Murdoch, has executed nearly the whole of the work, the only parts he has not done being the actual painting of the designs, but the fitting up, placing of the glass and lead work has been done by him, as well as the fixing of the windows. The three small windows above the two large ones contain representations of the Dove, His (Trinity) and Agnes Dei. The windows along the northern wall are eight in number, and represent six of the Apostles, namely Sts. Peter, Paul, Andrew, James, Philip and John, with two grisaille or decorated windows flanking them at each end of the church. These two latter are placed there by Mr. W. Grant, lately of Hopetoun, Bacchus Marsh, in memory of his brothers Dr. John Grant and Henry George Grant, who are buried in the church yard surrounding the church. The windows containing the figures the figures of Sts. Peter and Paul are supplied by Mr. George Wood in memory of deceased relatives, and the next two windows, containing representations of Sts. Andrew and James are the gift of Mrs. George Wood, and bear, as do the others, an in memoriam inscription of names of her relatives. The figures upon the next windows are those of St. Philip and St. John, and are in memory of deceased children of Mr. and Mrs. Molesworth Greene, who have erected these windows. Passing into the chancel, at the back of the choir seats two windows imported from England have been placed by the relatives of the late Mrs. Catherine McLeod, formerly of Tallisker, Scotland, who is buried in the adjacent church yard, and was a highly respected resident of the district and member of the congregation at the time of her death, in 1863. These windows bear various scriptural emblems, and the inscriptions – “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,” and “I was a stranger and ye took me in.” Three quatrefoil windows in the apse which forms the eastern end of the chancel bear scroll which surrounding the letters IHS in the centre, with Alpha and Omega at the two sides. The other windows on the southern side of the church remain in plain glass. Since this church was opened the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Belief have been fixed to the walls of the chancel, and add the necessary completeness in this respect to the interior of the church. Around the chancel arch the inscription has been placed – “The Lord is in His Holy Temple, let the earth keep silence before Him.” The whole of the windows display most accurate drawing and harmonious blending of colours, and their own width rendered the task of duly proportioning the figures a matter requiring more than ordinary skill. Both the donors of the windows and the members of the congregation have every reason to be completely satisfied with the artistic and mechanical skill displayed by Messrs. Ferguson & Urie and their workmen in these windows…”

On the 20th April 1881 Holy Trinity was consecrated by Rev Dr Moorehouse in the presence of a large congregation[9].

In September 1897 it was reported that four panes of stained glass windows were damaged by vandalism. It’s not known who may have done the repairs to the windows.

The Bacchus marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 11th September 1897, page 2.

“Wanton and serious damage has been done lately by stone-throwing to the windows of Holy-Trinity Church. Four panes have been broken and cracked in the south porch, and one of the handsome stained glass memorial windows on the north side has been broken and splintered in 10 pieces…”

A quarter of a century later a reporter under the name of ‘Christopher Crisp’ pens an unflattering article about the architecture and the stained glass windows of Holy Trinity.

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 24th February 1906, page 1.


THIS church needs a gift of 1,000 for present improvements, and an endowment of 2,000 to provide a fund to keep it in repair.

            The architect, like all his tribe, thought only of architectural features and altogether forgot ventilation and escape exits. Not a window will open, and there is no “perflation,” but only a few apertures in the side walls, above some of the windows, to admit fresh air. There are only two narrow door exits. Our plan would be to make the upper halves of the least ornamented of the side windows double sashed ventilators, after the modern method. The side wall between the chancel and the vestry should be arched, and the two windows in the vestry porch should be made into a doorway, for ventilation, and escape purposes.

            Repairs are also required now, chiefly to the fencing and drainage, and the bell tower should be raised and strengthened, as the bell (one of the best in Victoria) cannot be properly rung because of those two weaknesses. An imprimis requirement is a better lectern. The one at present in use is worth about 2.6, and is tottering. Yet it has to hold a Bible!

Some Londoners never visit the British Museum, and we must confess that we were not aware that this church contains a good two light stained glass memorial window to the late Simon Staughton. It is high up in the gable above the entrance porch and the wording is small and badly painted in old English letters. The only good piece of work of that kind (and there is a lot of it) in the church, is that round the chancel arch. This gable window has in the upper spaces, an open hand, with three fingers uplifted, representing the three persons of the Trinity. Next it is the Lamb of God, carrying a banner and Cross. Below are the two lights, filled by figures of the Good Shepherd and of John the Baptist. Below is the lettering – “In memory of Simon Staughton. Died, 1863, aged 63,” so far as can be made out. Two winged angels with harps beneath.

The latest addition to the stained glass windows in this church is the best of the lot, and it is by the Melbourne artist, William Montgomery. It is an exquisite piece of work, in every detail. The colouring is brilliant, yet not gaudy; the drapery, the expressions, and all the background, show “work,” not slumming, as in a window not far off. There are two windows, both showing female figures. One represents Faith, a youthful lady, as befits the subject, clasping a cross, and with rays of Divine light striking her head. Robe, blue, with white bodice starred with gold. The companion figure, as befits Charity, is maternal, with a very fine expression, although the right eyelid does droop too much. She is carrying an infant on her right arm, and her left arm and hand encircle an older child. She wears a white robe, with a crimson cloak. Below runs the scroll work – not too well done, and wrongly spaced – “Emma, wife of Molesworth R. Greene, in memory of. Aged 76 years. Died, 5th March, 1905.”

Other windows in this church are – In the apse, above the altar, 3 quatre foils, the centre one being I.H.S, flanked by the Greek letters representing A.O. – Alpha and Omega. Next the choir seats and the organ are two windows both lettered – “Catherine McLeod, of Tallisker, died 28th Feb., 1863.” This lady gave some of the land upon which the church is built, and also built the old Sunday school. She was generally known as lady McLeod. She is buried in the adjacent churchyard, if we read the tombstones there aright. Next the pulpit is a memorial window to Henry George Grant, died 1st May, 1871. Aged 27. Next that a two-light window showing figures of St. John and St. Phillip, and to the memory of Charles Stawell Greene, born 1855, died 1856; Alice Fairlie Greene, 1859-1860; Molesworth William Greene, 1865-1867. Next, St. Andrew and St. James, to the memory of father, sister, and brother of Mrs. George Wood. Next, St. Peter and St. Paul, to the memory of the father, mother, and sister of Mr. George Wood. Next, a window to memory of John Grant, 30th April, 1856, aged 29 years. On the other side of the church, next the font, there are three plain glass windows. Next them the window to Mrs. Greene. Then two very poor ones, representing the Madonna and Crucified Savour [sic]. One is to the memory of Eliza Bacchus, 1828-1872. The other to the memory of Captain William Henry Bacchus, born 12th August, 1872, died Feb. 26, 1849. This church, therefore, with its tombstones outside, deserves an endowment, if anyone is rich enough and generous enough to provide it.

            Outside, some of the graves have been repaired and cleaned. The Dr. Grant headstone is toppling over sideways; and the Bence marble slab is leaning forward, owing to the foundations to the bluestone base having subsided. During the cleaning up, a loose slab of marble was found within the McLeod railings, and it reads, as far as can be made out – “This tablet, erected by his children, is sacred to the memory of Major McLeod, who died in Sydney, N.S.W., 11th April, 1838, leaving a widow and twelve children”

            The church has been well built, but being upon a gravel hill the hot weather seems to have a disturbing effect, and the drainage by underground pipes is a danger. Surface drains are much safer. All of which points to the conclusion that persons who wish to see this church improved and maintained should endeavour to help the Rev. C. A. Brewer (who is a good Conservator and good worker) and his colleagues in management, in the directions above indicated”.

The majority of the  Ferguson and Urie stained glass windows in Holy Trinity were erected in early 1881 with the Virgin & Child window erected early 1882.

The Virgin & Child and Crucifixion:

The Virgin & Child and Crucifixion windows were erected in early 1882 by William Henry Bachus Jnr (1820-1887) in memory of his father, Captain W. H. Bacchus and his sister Eliza.

“Eliza Bacchus, Born June 23rd 1828, Died Dec 6th 1872”

“Capt William Henry Bacchus, Born Aug 12th 1782, Died Feb 26th 1849”

Captain William Henry Bacchus (1782-1849) is the pioneer[10] who the town of Bacchus Marsh is named after[11]. He was originally stationed in Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) with his regiment, the 18th Light Dragoons. In 1837 he and his son William Jnr (1820-1887) brought sheep from Tasmania and proceeded to Victoria and increased their land holdings in the district that would eventually bear the Bacchus name. His gravestone[12] still exists on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church at Bacchus Marsh on land he had donated to the church. In 1935 an unusual story was published about an “Unclaimed Fortune” of £80,000 to which Captain William Henry Bacchus had been entitled to on the death of his uncle George Henry Bacchus who died in England[13] but nothing further is known of the outcome.

Launceston Examiner, Tas, Saturday 10th March 1849, page 6.

“At Bacchus’ Marsh, on the 26th February, Captain W.H. Bacchus, aged 67.”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 9th July 1887, page 2.

 BACCHUS.- On the 7th inst., at his residence Peerewur, near Ballarat, William Henry Bacchus, aged 66 years.

Two Grisaille or Decorated windows:

First window is dedicated to Henry George Grant:

“In memory of Henry George Grant who died 1st May 1871, aged 27 years”

 The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 13th May 1871, page 2.

 GRANT.- On the 1st inst., at Hopetoun, Bacchus Marsh, Henry George Grant, youngest son of the late James Grant, Gilmore-place, Edinburgh, Scotland.

 Second window is dedicated to Dr. John Grant:

 “In memory of John Grant who died 30th April 1856, aged 29 years”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 5th May 1856, page 4.

“On the 30th ult., at the residence of Mrs. McLeod, Bacchus Marsh, John Grant, Esq., surgeon, aged twenty-nine years.”

These windows were erected by William Grant, the brother of Henry & John.

William was elected Bacchus Marsh Shire President on Wednesday 14th September 1892[14].

St Phillip & St John windows.

 Dedicated to the infant children of Molesworth & Emma Greene:

 “In memory of Charles Stawell Greene, born 1855, died 1856”

“Alice Fairlie Greene, born 1859, died 1860”

“Molesworth William Greene, born 1864, died 1867”

 At the Consecration ceremony of Holy Trinity in April 1881, Molesworth Greene acted as Registrar of the Diocese and read the form of petition of consecration in the capacity of Chancellor of the Diocese[15].

Biography: Molesworth Richard Greene 1827-1916)

St Andrew & St James Major windows.

Dedicated to Francis, Mary, & William Dalton:

“In memory of her Father Francis Dalton, Sister Mary, Brother William, By Fanny C Wood”

 The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 31st August 1872, page 2.

 DALTON.- On the 4th July, Mr. Francis Dalton, of Hackney, London, aged 72, father of Mrs. George Wood, of Bacchus Marsh.

The donor of the windows was Frances Catherine Wood nee Dalton, wife of George Wood. The Wood’s returned to England in April 1881 with only the intention of an 18 month stay but never returned to Australia. George died on the 26th October 1899 at his brother’s residence in Bristol, aged 75[16] and his wife Frances died fourteen years later on the 28th October 1913 at London, aged 85 [17].

St Peter & St Paul windows.

Dedicated to George, Jane & Elizabeth Wood.

“In memoriam of his father George, mother Jane, Sister Elizabeth, By George Wood”

George Wood was a prominent Grocer, wine and spirit merchant, trustee of Holy Trinity[18], and member of the Bacchus Marsh Council[19]. A significant number of the entries in the Bacchus Marsh Express of the time indicate that he spent much of his time in the court of petty sessions chasing small debts owed to him. In 1879 he was fined £25 for selling retail Brandy without a liquor licence[20].

George Wood and family returned to England aboard the Hydaspes on Monday 25th of April 1881. On the preceding Thursday, 21st of April 1881, a function was held at the Bacchus Marsh Mechanics Institute to bid them farewell. Their intention was to return to Bacchus Marsh in eighteen months but this never occurred and George and Frances died in England in 1899 and 1913 respectively.

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 23rd April 1881, page 2.

“On Thursday afternoon a presentation was made in the Mechanics’ Institute, Bacchus Marsh, to Mr. and Mrs. George Wood, and Miss Wood, who will sail on Monday by the mail steamer Hydaspes on a visit to England, from whence they purpose returning, and probably to Bacchus marsh, in about eighteen months time. The presentation consisted of a silver fruit epergne or centre table ornament bearing four handsomely chased glass dishes, three being supported by branches from the main stem and the fourth surmounting the centre pillar. There were also two smaller silver side ornaments bearing a single glass dish each. The design of these handsome articles of table garniture was unusually neat and effective, the principal features being representations of elephants heads and tusks, silver chains being used to impart gracefulness and lightness. Upon the principal epergne the following inscription was engraved:- “Presented to Mr. and Mrs. George Wood, on the eve of their departure for England, by friends and well wishers residents of Melbourne and Bacchus Marsh, as a token of their esteem and regard. Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, A.D. April 22, 1881”. In addition to these articles a gold chain and pendant was presented to Miss Wood. The whole represented a value of £50 we understand…”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 16th December 1899, page 2.

WOOD.- On the 26th Oct., at the residence of his brother, Highfields, Chew Magna, Bristol, George Wood, late of Merrimu, Alleyn-park, Dulwich, aged 75.

 The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 20th December 1913, page 2.

WOOD.- On Tuesday, 28th October, 1913, at “Braemar,” Kersfield Road, Putney Heath, London, S.W., Frances Catherine, widow of the late George Wood (formerly of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria), in her 85th year.”

The Good Shepherd & St John the Baptist windows.

Dedicated to Simon Staughton:

“In memoriam, Simon Staughton, died 18th May 1863, aged 68”.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 19th May 1863, page 5.

“We regret to announce the death of Mr. Simon Staughton, one of the early Victorian settlers, and one who personally and by repute is well known throughout the Australian colonies. The event took place at four o’clock yesterday morning, at Prince of Wales Hotel, St. Kilda. For some years past Mr. Staughton has suffered from disease of the liver, and for the last twelve months he has been to a great extent confined to his house. The immediate attack which occasioned his death was of some six weeks duration, and its fatal termination was by no means unexpected. Mr. Staughton arrived in Victoria in the early part of 1841. Though the architect of his own fortune, he brought with him means which enabled him to enter largely and at once into pastoral pursuits. He purchased the Exford Station, situated some twenty-four miles from Melbourne, from Dr. Walton, and from this locality he never removed. During the severe though temporary depression the colony suffered prior to the discovery of the gold-fields Mr. Staughton had to put forth his best efforts to maintain his position; but in the end he was successful. When prosperous times returned, he devoted his energies to the purchase of the fee-simple of his station, and at the present time some 70,000 acres – nearly the whole of the run – are in the possession of the family. His accumulated wealth thus enabled him to become one of the largest land owners in the colony, and in addition he purchased many city properties, was owner of a station on the Darling, and had recently taken a prominent position in connexion with the Melbourne Banking Company. Mr. Staughton has never taken an active part in the political affairs of the colony. He was a native of Huntingdonshire and was in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He has left a family of seven children. The funeral of the deceased gentleman is announced to take place on Wednesday morning.”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 20th May 1916, page 3.

By W. Williams, B.A.
No. 72”.

“…March 26th, 1881. Account of handsome stained glass windows placed in Holy Trinity Church. The large two-light window, above chief entrance, with three small round windows above it, was the gift of Mr. Samuel Thomas Staughton, and in memory of his father, the late Mr. Simon Staughton. The windows along northern wall, represent six of the Apostles, with two grisaille, or decorated windows flanking them at each end of the church. These two latter were placed there by Mr. W. Grant, lately of Hopetoun, in memory of his brothers, Dr. John Grant and Henry George Grant who are buried in church yard surrounding church. Two windows were supplied by Mr. Geo. Wood in memory of deceased relatives, and two were the gift of Mrs. George Wood, and bear an in memoriam inscription of names of her relatives. Mr. and Mrs. Molesworth Greene have two windows in memory of deceased children. In the chancel, at the back of the choir stalls, two windows, imported from England were placed by relatives of the late Mrs. Catherine McLeod formerly of Tallisker, Scotland, who is buried in the adjacent church yard, and was a highly respected resident of district, and member of congregation up to the time of her death in 1863. The artistic and mechanical skill displayed by Messrs. Ferguson & Urie, in the erection of these windows, was subject of much favorable [sic] comment, a note was made to the effect that it was worth mentioning that a Bacchus Marsh native, Mr. A. Murdoch executed nearly the whole of the work, the only part he had not done being the actual painting of the designs, but the placing of the glass and lead work had been performed by him as well as the fixing of the windows…”

[1] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 9th June 1877, page 2.


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