Church History VII

The Organ


By the early 19th century singing at St
Michael's was accompanied by a bass viol and
seraphione (which was rather like a harmonium). There were two professional
singers to lead the congregation at a total cost of £4 a year. The first record of an
organ was in the mid 19th century, where the church accounts show £6 for 'organ
hire, tuning and blowing'. In 1858 an organ built by Hills of London was installed.
The organ and choir were moved from the west end of the church to the east in
1870.
When the third church was built, a new organ was given by C F Tetley (the carved
teak case was later given by his wife). It was the work of Abbott and Smith of Leeds
and contains about 3500 pipes. It is thought to be one of the finest in Leeds. The
organ was completely rebuilt in 1961 by Messers J W Walker and Sons, although
most of the original pipework was retained.
The organ console was moved to the south aisle by John T Jackson and Sons of
Leeds during the restoration for the church's centenary in 1986. The console pistons'
system was modernised with
computer control in 2002.


The Lady Chapel


The Lady Chapel is used
daily for private prayer and
services and here the blessed
Sacrament is reserved.
The Triptych (folding painted
panels) over the altar was
designed by Pearson and
given in 1897 by the family
of Alderman Emsley, a
former Mayor of Leeds. The
scenes here are from the
Resurrection. In the centre is the risen Lord between two angels and surrounded by
Cherubim and Seraphim. The side panels show the first four witnesses of the
resurrection: to the right are the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene and to the left St
John and St Peter.
The windows in the Lady Chapel are by J H Powell, who took the theme of prayer
in his designs for the windows and examples of answered prayers are illustrated.
On the south wall the first window was given by the parents of Charlotte Lucy
Hudson in her memory. On the left are two scenes from the Old Testament:
Abraham's steward meeting Rebecca at the well (Genesis ch.24) (above) and Ruth
gleaning in the fields of Boaz (Ruth ch.2). On the right are scenes from the New
Testament: the Annunciation (Luke ch.l) (above) and Jesus healing Jairus' daughter
(Mark ch.5).
The second window was given in 1888 in memory of Zoe Louise Barker. The
figures on the left are Hagar and her son Ishmael (Genesis ch.2l) with Elisha and the
Shunamite woman (2 Kings ch.4) below. On the right Hannah, the mother of Samuel
(1 Samuel ch.l), stands above Jesus and the Canaanite woman (Matthew ch.15).
The east window was installed in 1887 as a memorial to five children who are
buried in the churchyard. At the centre is the risen Jesus with the dove of the Holy
Spirit above Him. He is surrounded by intercessors from the Old and New
Testaments (named in the glass). In the outer lights are Angels ascending with
prayers and descending with good gifts.
The brass eagle lectern, dated 1870, came from the second church.
A small carved Virgin and Child by Robert Thompson is
made of wood from a venerable oak that stood nearby
throughout much of the history of the church in
Headingley. This oak is now recalled in the name of the
two nearby public houses, the Shire Oak and Skyrack,
marking a place where important meetings could be held.
The last remains of the tree collapsed in 1941, but all the
sound wood was salvaged and carvings made and sold for
war charities


The Chancel


The chancel screen and the ironwork between the chancel and the Lady Chapel were
designed by Pearson and given by Joseph Hudson (Churchwarden 1878-1887) and
were dedicated on Easter Day 1892.
On the ends of the high central sections of the Choir Stalls, there are 8 small carved
panels. On the Lady Chapel
side (left to right) are: the
Nativity, the presentation of
Jesus in the temple (Luke
ch.2), the baptism of Jesus,
and Jacob wrestling with the
angel (Genesis ch.32). On the
organ side, (again left to
right), are the meeting of
Abraham and Melchizedek
(Genesis ch.14), the
Annunciation (Gabriel
appearing to the Virgin Mary:
Luke ch.l), Adam and Eve
(Genesis ch.3) and Jesus'
charge to Peter - Feed my
sheep (John ch.2l).
The fine painted High Altar,
given by Mrs Hugh Jones and
designed by Pearson, was
used for the first time on
Maundy Thursday 1891. In
the centre panel the Lamb represents Jesus. The five arches each side enclose figures
of Angels and Archangels. St Michael slaying the Dragon is second from the left.
The East Window of 1886, designed by Powell, portrays the traditional nine orders
of Angels. In the top centre light, Jesus is enthroned, with the dove of the Holy Spirit
and 2 red-winged Seraphim above him, and blue-winged Cherubim below. The
golden winged Thrones bear up the Throne of God. In the lights to either side, and in
the top and bottom of the lower lights, there are groups of other angels; the Virtues
with chalice and book and holding scrolls with the words that do His commandments
and hearken unto the voice of His word; the Powers with drawn swords; the
Dominions holding planets and sceptres and the Principalities bearing sceptres. At
the centre of the lower lights are taller figures of three archangels: St Gabriel with a
lily; St Michael with a sword and spear; and St Raphael with a fish (referring to the
story of Tobias and the Angel, in Tobit chapters 4-11).


Church History
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