St Mary’s Lighting


Prior to 1930 Colton Church would be illuminated by candles made from sheep fat and known as Tallow candles. The candles we see used today are made from Bees Wax and probably smell much sweeter than those made from sheep fat!

During the early 1930’s electricity came to the village of Colton. Mrs Maud Oldham, the widow of Captain Charles S.D.O. Oldham of Bellamour Lodge who died on the 9th January 1930, had electricity laid into the church as a memorial to her late husband. A brass plaque to his memory can be seen on the South wall of the nave.

On entering the church the Corona that hangs in the West end of the nave is very impressive. It was made by Hardman Powel & Co. Of Birmingham, this company still exist today and produces stained glass windows and metalwork etc for church buildings.

Originally the large Corona hung in the Chancel from 1892 until 1958; it was moved to enhance the view of the East stained glass window. It was installed as a memorial to Mrs Jane Lowry Parker who died 18th February 1888, mother of the Reverend F.P. Parker Rector of St. Mary’s. The large Corona replaced the original, smaller Corona that can now be seen in the Vestry. Prior to this the small Corona hung in the Chancel from 1851 until 1892. Both Coronae were illuminated with candles and must have looked very beautiful. In recent years they have been converted to electricity by Mr Frank Ballard, a well known resident of Colton.

As one looks around the church there are many forms of illumination. The candle holders in the choir area and the pulpit are original from 1851, and still used with candles at Christmas. The Sanctuary or Gospel stands are situated behind and to the side of the altar. Originally they had five branches to hold candles but they were converted to hold a single large candle in 1958, this conversion was paid for by F.W. Cooper the Parish Clerk to Colton Church from 1949 to 1961.

The Nave lights originally hung down the centre. They are very ornate and all individually made so cleaning is intricate and all parts must be kept separate. Do we have any volunteers!!! In 1958 the nave lights were converted to electricity and re-sited in the arches.

Standing by the Font is a large wood and brass candle stand. This stand is part of the memorial to George Sackville Parker donated in 1879, same time as the organ. It remains candle lit, and is lit for baptisms.

The Paschal or Easter candle is situated on a wooden stand, this is the original base of an oil lamp that was used by Reverend Parker 1910 -1921, to enable him to read when his eye sight was failing.

Over the years the church has had many changes to its lighting, the last completion being 1993.

Christmas is always special as candles are used once more to great effect, perhaps you may like to come and enjoy the experience, and the children will love it.

Marie Havelock