Tour guide of the church

Tour Guide of St Barnabas Church,

Penny Lane, Liverpool.

By Paul Young:

Please feel free to print this guide to help you when you visit us.

This tour guide starts in the entrance foyer (Narthex) of the Church. Please refer to the sketch map plan below to locate the "View Points" of interest as you move around the Church. 

 

1st Viewing point: Narthex area

In the original design, the Baptismal font was sited here. The Church entrance was the traditional place of baptism before one entered the main body of the Church. The font was later moved to the front of the Church near the Chancel so that the baptism service could be a more congregational event.

Building work on the Church was completed in 1914 just before the outbreak of World War 1. There are a number of War Memorials in the Church. 

(Photo: Paul Young)

World War 1 memorial at St Barnabas

On the left hand side of the Narthex (over the hymn book cupboard) is one of these memorials to members of the congregation who fell in the First World War. Amongst the list of 43 names are the two sons of the first Vicar of the Church Rev. James Kirk Pike, Harold Downey (son of Church Warden Mr. D Downey), and Charles Buttery, who had been a leader in Youth work including the St Barnabas Scouts.

On the wall to the right of the memorial, is a wooden cross. This is a rare object and was brought back from the Flanders battlefield in Belgium. These were temporary crosses used to mark a soldier’s burial place. It is inscribed at the top “Unknown British Soldier”.

Above you is the tall West Tower where a peal of 8 bells has been installed by volunteers from the Merseyside Bell Restoration Group. These bells replace the original single bell which has been transferred to the church of St Peter ad Vincula, Coggeshall, Essex.

 

2nd Viewing point: Double door oak screen separating the Narthex from the main body of the church

Originally, the Narthex was open to the church nave. It was decided that a wooden carved dividing screen would be a suitable memorial to those 18 parishioners who lost their lives in the Second World War (1939-1945).

The screen was designed and carved by Mr.  E Carter Preston, a well-known local wood carver who did much work on Liverpool Cathedral.

(Photo: Paul Young)

World War 2 memorial at St Barnabas

Now pass into the kitchen area, on the left hand wall, the foundation stone dated 1912.

 

3rd Viewing Point:  Church Foundation Stone

The foundation stone set in the wall here, was laid by Mrs Harford - the wife of the vicar of St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill. On completion of the building work in 1914, St Barnabas Church was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Dr Chavasse, Bishop of Liverpool and father of double VC recipient Captain Noel Chavasse – after whom Chavasse Park in Central Liverpool is named.

Now pass through the kitchen door into the right hand side south aisle of the church.

On completion in 1914, in common with most new churches, all the windows were of plain glass. Over time, members of the congregation donated replacement stained glass windows usually as a memorial to a family member.

 

4th Viewing Point: South Aisle, second window down on right hand side

The Book of Common Prayer Window is the most recently installed window, and is in memory of the Bibby sisters. The window cost £2,500 and was donated by Mrs Ethel Ambrose nee Bibby, the last surviving sister. Sadly Mrs Ambrose died in her 95th year, a month before the window was installed.

 

5th Viewing Point: Third window down on right hand side

 

(Photo: Paul Young)

This window was installed in 1937 in memory of Arthur Dovaston for many years Church Warden and Treasurer of St Barnabas Church and his wife Agnes. It represents St Patrick, St George and St David, patron saints of Ireland, England and Wales respectively.

 

6th Viewing Point: Fourth window down on right hand side

This represents St. Timothy, St. Paul and St. Stephen. It was a gift from the Rev. R. B. Wolf, M.A to celebrate his 60 years’ church ministry (1874 – 1934). The shields indicate the dioceses in which he worked – Exeter, York, Lincoln, Sheffield and Liverpool; and also Wadham College, his college at Oxford University. From 1900 to 1904, he was curate in charge of the first St. Barnabas at its previous Smithdown Road site (the “tin cathedral”).

(Photo: Paul Young)

7th Viewing Point:  Before the steps to the Lady Chapel

High up on the wall on the right hand side are two large marble plaques which contain the words of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments.  These plaques were gifts to the church in 1914 by Sidney Doyle, supervising architect following the death of his brother the original St. Barnabas Church architect, James Francis Doyle who died in 1912.

To the left is the Font. This is octagonal in shape and of polished Hoptonwood stone having carved emblems on four sides: the ship, the three fishes, the Dove, and the Cross. Originally this was situated in the Narthex, then called the Baptistry, at the back of the church by the First World War memorial plaque. Until more recently baptisms were held separately from normal church services. However the custom now is to integrate this service into normal church services so the font was moved here in the mid 1960s. Note the carved text around the font.

Next to the font is the baptismal font ewer, beaten out of a single piece of copper, which, together with the copper collection plates, were presented to the Church by the Rt. Rev. J W Diggle, Bishop of Carlisle who also was the first vicar of St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill. All the copper ornaments as well as the Holy Table vases were made by the Keswick School of Industrial Art.

Note also an icon of St Barnabas on the wall near the font. St Barnabas travelled with St Paul. It was during their stay at Antioch, in modern Turkey, that their followers were called Christians for the first time ever.   

The votive candle stand was installed in 2008 and if you would like to light a candle in memory of a loved one, please feels free to do so.

The brass eagle lectern was the gift of a group of lady parishioners who met in each other’s houses producing articles for sale which raised £55 for this purpose.

Now walk up the steps to the Lady Chapel:

 

8th Viewing Point: The Lady Chapel

 

This Chapel is more correctly called The Chapel of St Mary Mother of St Mark but is more commonly known as the Lady Chapel. Originally fitted with wooden chairs, wooden pews were installed in the 1930s. Points of interest include:

The Mothers’ Union Memorial WindowMadonna and Child – is dedicated to all deceased Mothers’ Union members – it cost £1,500 to install in 2002.

(Photo: Paul Young)

The Mothers’ Union Memorial Window

 

(Photo: Paul Young)

The Mary Foreman memorial window

This depicts Jesus and Mary Magdalene – “I am the Resurrection and the Life”. This window was given in memory of Mrs Mary Foreman, who died in a road accident on Elm Hall Drive on 18th December, 1949. The window was installed in 1963 by Mary’s husband, William Foreman. Husband and wife are buried in Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Churchyard.

Lady Chapel East Window

The Lady Chapel East window is one of three lights. The central light showing the figure of Mary (mother of Mark) to whom the Chapel is dedicated and the two side lights contain figures of Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus. The window was dedicated on Sunday, October 14th, 1934 by the Archdeacon of Warrington, the Ven. J. P. Baker.  The donor of the right hand light dedicated to Mr and Mrs Turnbull was their daughter Miss Agnes Noel Turnbull who was drowned whilst bathing off Fleetwood Lancashire in August 1934, so sadly she was not spared to witness the window in place.

(Photo: Paul Young)

Lady Chapel East Window

 

Lady Chapel Sanctuary 

Both the Reredos and Holy Table were the gift of the family of Miss Agnes Noel Turnbull mentioned above. The oak communion rails were donated by the Sunday School. These gifts were dedicated by the Archdeacon of Liverpool, the Ven. C. F. Twitchett on Sunday October 27th, 1935. To the right on the wall is a very detailed, set in plaster, depiction of the Last Supper.

Now pass through the left hand arch in the Lady Chapel to enter the Chancel area of the Church:

 

9th Viewing Point: Chancel

(Photo: Paul Young)

Holy Table (High Altar) and Reredos at St Barnabas

Below the East window is the carved oak Reredos. This depicts, as its central carving, Jesus with the two disciples he met on the road to Emmaus:

“He was known of them at the breaking of the bread”.

Having spent the whole day with them it was only at this part of the meal that the men realised they were with the resurrected Jesus himself.

This central carving is flanked by a further two carved figures – St Barnabas on the left and Mary mother of Mark on the right. Mary also features centrally in the main window of the Lady Chapel. It is believed she was St Barnabas’ sister.

Originally, the Holy Table directly abutted the main Reredos but in the 1960s was pulled forward so the priest could stand behind it and face the congregation. This reflected changes in liturgical practice at that period.

 

(Photo: Paul Young)

East Window (above Holy Table)

Above the Reredos is the main East window which is a World War 1 Memorial. The lower portion depicts members of the armed forces, including a drummer boy, and medieval figures.  The words across the window say:

“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are Full of Thy Glory”.

The upper portion depicts Christ in Glory. At the very top of the window is the Lamb of God. The window was designed by the church’s then Lay Reader, Arthur G Moore, a stained glass artist. The window was fabricated in Seel Street, Liverpool.

On the left hand side of the Holy Chapel is the Bishop’s Seat given in memory of the Rev. James Kirk Pike. The Sunday School Banner – also to the left - has been here on site since the Church was built. Age had reduced it to tatters, but it was successfully repaired by Mrs Margaret Hughes, a skilled needlewoman and member of the congregation. She carefully matched the original shades of the silks most carefully so you literally “can’t see the join”.

The Prayer Table on the left hand side of the Holy Table is dedicated to the Reverend de Wolf, our first curate in charge – he died in 1940.

The Prayer Table on the right hand side of the Holy Table is dedicated to Emma Bowen – a stalwart of the Mothers’ Union – she died in 1942.

Much more recently the Advent Candle stand was donated to the church by Sheila and Shirley Pryor in memory of their mother.

On the right hand side of the Holy Table is the Mothers’ Union Banner. There has been a Mothers’ Union group at St Barnabas for 98 years but sadly this group folded in September 2008.

Within the Chancel, one can also see:

 

a) The organ

(Photo: Paul Young)

Organ, Choir stalls and Pulpit at St. Barnabas

This is a Willis II organ, made in Liverpool by Henry Willis and Sons, the world famous organ builders. The organ at St Barnabas was when installed in 1914, a copy of the Willis II organ that had been built in 1910 for the Lady Chapel of the new Liverpool Cathedral. (Both organs have subsequently developed so they no longer have the same specifications).

 

b) Choir stalls – These are of carved oak.  Paul McCartney sang in the St Barnabas church choir when he was a youngster (a small plaque shows where he sat). Paul was best man at his brother Mike’s wedding to Rowena at St Barnabas at which Linda McCartney was also present. The Rev Bill Harrington officiated at the service.

Descending the chancel steps, the pulpit can be seen on your right.

 

10th Viewing Point: The pulpit and Nave Holy Table area

The pulpit is intricately carved by a Messrs. Hems of Exeter from a single piece of polished Hoptonwood stone and is continuous with the chancel wall also carved from the same polished stone. To the right of the pulpit is the Memoriam Book, donated in 2007 by Ann and Ted Welsh in memory of their son Keith.

 The Nave Holy Table sited in front of the Chancel is used.  This was installed during Lent 1968 to accommodate changes in liturgical practice relating to the Holy Communion service. It was designed by Herbert Elmer the then PCC Secretary, an expert woodworker, to represent a carpenter’s bench reflecting Jesus’ family trade. The Holy Table was donated by Mrs and Mrs Richard H Owen, the rails and prayer tables by other members of the congregation.

If you look upwards, you will see many carved angels along the nave. They were carved under the direction of Joseph Phillips who was employed on contemporary (1912-1914) stone carving work at Liverpool Cathedral

Next to the choir vestry doors, there is a brass memorial plaque which is dedicated to the St Barnabas Scouts – members of the 33rd Liverpool Troop of BP (Baden Powell) Scouts, who died in the First World War. Their names are also on the main War Memorial in the Narthex. The local scout group until quite recently was still known as the St Barnabas Scouts.

 

11th Viewing Point:  North side aisle Roll of Honour

This plaque is a roll of names listing all the men and women of St Barnabas parish who served in the First World War. “They tarried not to count the cost”.

 

12th Viewing Point: Picture of Christ

(Photo: Paul Young)

The picture of Christ was given by his wife in memory of Arthur George Moore, the stained glass artist and Lay Reader of St Barnabas Church, who died on 23rd April 1941.

 

13th Viewing Point: Centre aisle

On each side of the aisle are the Church Wardens’ staffs. These staffs of office are carried by the Churchwardens before a dignitary, such as the Bishop as he proceeds along the nave aisle. At the top of the staff is either a brass crown (for the people’s warden) or a brass mitre (for the vicar’s warden).

(Photo: Paul Young)

View down the Central Aisle towards the East End.

 

We love our church and we hope you will have time to visit us sometime. You will be made very welcome.

Thanks to Paul Young for contributing photographs and text for this article.