St. Ann & the Holy Trinity’s extensive suite of figural stained glass windows were the very first designed and made in North America and not imported from Europe. They were made by William Jay Bolton, assisted by brother John, between 1845 and 1848 in Pelham, NY. The group consists of 55 windows made by William Jay Bolton assisted by his brother John in Pelham, NY. Fifty-four windows remain, many of which were restored in recent years, but some still await funding for restoration.
Bolton’s windows predate by forty years those of Tiffany and LaFarge and were unusually colorful and “modern” for their time. They are considered the finest early 19th century stained glass in America and are cited in guides to New York City, attracting international visitors to the church.
Bolton set out to depict in glass easily understood lessons from the Bible – the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Family Tree of Jesus, the “Jesse Tree.” The windows are carefully detailed, both artistically and theologically, and are best seen by walking right up to the balcony and ground floor windows. However, they are beautiful from a distance as well and flood the church with changing rainbows of color throughout the daylight hours.
Each main group is arranged on its own level and in appropriate sequence. Those from the Old Testament are in the clerestory (top) level. Stories from the life of Christ in the New Testament are in the two the balconies and can be seen close-up by climbing the stairs either side of the entrance. The unique, horizontal layout of the Old Testament “Jesse Tree” is easily seen at the ground level.
The windows in the stairwells and one in the narthex were not made by Bolton.
Brochures for self-guided tours are available in the narthex at the entrance of the church.
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