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Stained glass windows of Memorial Hall

Stained-glass windows

Lord Byng of Vimy laid the cornerstone of Memorial Hall in 1923 dedicating the building to the memory of UNB’s fallen war heroes, those young men who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country in World War One.

One of the distinguishing features of Memorial Hall is the stained-glass windows that grace the Gothic Revival auditorium. The stained-glass windows are exceptional for their craftsmanship, beauty and size.

Stained glass collection

The windows were installed in stages shortly after Memorial Hall was completed, beginning in 1926 and ending in 1943. Each of the windows is dedicated to an important member of the UNB community and features family crests, personal insignia, as well as images drawn from poetry, history and science. The Rankin and Fenwick windows were dedicated by families who lost sons during the war.

The beauty and uniqueness of the windows speak to their own intrinsic value. To that end, the highest quality professionals were employed to carry out the conservation work. This delicate work requires the rare skills of a specialist and fortunately, Fredericton is currently the home of the respected stained-glass artist and conservator Ned Bowes. Ned has many years of experience working on large restoration projects throughout North America and Barbados and has worked on the windows of most of the churches in New Brunswick.

The six windows lining the East and West walls measure 5’5” X 14’6” and were produced by the studio of the Robert McCausland Company of Toronto and installed in Memorial Hall between 1926 and 1943. This company, founded in 1865, was known for its expertise and craftsmanship. Its glass production was state-of-the-art, making use of the innovative technologies developed by Tiffany Studios just south of the border. Its artists were highly trained; many came from the British Society of Master Glass Painters. The Bailey window, in particular, shows evidence of the hand of renowned stained glass artist Napolean T. Lyons. Lyons’ signature in a particular three layer lamination technique used to create more depth in portraits, hands and feet.

The large multiple-panelled showpiece on the south-facing wall measures 7’3” X 11’6” and was produced by the Clayton and Bell Company of London, England. Formed in 1885 and in business until 1993, the studio was known for the quality of its glass, the beauty of its designs and its efficient production. They were in high demand to produce stained glass windows for the Gothic Revival churches being constructed at the turn of the 20th century and were particularly well known for brightly coloured multiple-panelled windows like the one in Memorial Hall.

Thomas, Earl of Ashburnham window

Ashburnham window

Dedicated to Thomas, Earl of Ashburnham (d. 1924). Gift of his wife Countess Ashburnham, Maria Anderson of Fredericton, to honour her husband’s patriotism and service to the community. Born and educated in England, he was the descendant of John Ashburnham, who assisted King Charles I in his escape from Hampton Court Palace. Thomas, the sixth and final Earl, fought in a number of military campaigns and settled in Fredericton in 1900. Since he was a military man by training but too old to fight when the First World War broke out, he organized and participated in the war efforts here at home. He died in 1924 on a visit back home to England.

The window features Shakespeare in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, a reference to his love of theatre and to his British heritage. His family crest can be seen at the bottom of the left panel.

Loring Woart Bailey window

Bailey window

Dedicated to Loring Woart Bailey, Professor of Natural Sciences. The window was a gift presented by the New England graduates. L. W. Bailey was a graduate of Harvard University; he came to UNB in 1861 at the age of 22 and taught at UNB until his retirement in 1907. He taught chemistry, physics, geology, zoology, physiology and botany. He was a favourite with his students and shared his scientific knowledge with enthusiasm. He was part of the Geological Survey of Canada and explored the province charting the territory and drawing maps. Bailey is credited with operating the first telephone in Fredericton with John Babbitt and together they generated the first battery-powered electric light in the portico of the Old Arts Building, now known as Sir Howard Douglas Hall.

The window features scenes from the poems The Musician’s Tale: The Saga of King Olaf, and The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Above these are symbols of Bailey’s profession, the lamp of learning and the mortar and pestle of the chemist.

The medallions above the window panels display emblems of Bailey’s subjects:

  • Astronomy, signified by the planet Saturn;
  • Geology, an erupting volcano;
  • Geography, a waterfall; and,
  • History/archaeology, the Egyptian pyramid.

Henry Seabury Bridges window

Bridges window

Dedicated to Henry Seabury Bridges, UNB class of 1869. He was a Professor of Classics 1881 to 1895 and a member of the UNB Senate. He was also the grandfather of President Colin B. MacKay 1953 to 1969. The window is a gift from his daughters.

The window features Aristotle instructing his followers, with inscriptions below:

  • Fide et Fiducia - faith and courage, over the Lamp of Knowledge; and
  • Fide et Fortitudine - faith and fortitude, over the Book of Learning.

The medallions in the upper register present the emblems of wisdom, knowledge, learning, and philosophy.

Lt. George P. O. Fenwick window

Fenwick window

Dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant George Paget Owen Fenwick (BA 1902), who was killed at Passchendaele, on October 30, 1917. The window was the gift of his sisters Lena Fenwick and Mrs. G. Clowes VanWart.

His commanding officer wrote:

"We were all very much affected by the death of Mr. Fenwick, for he was so keen, so full of enthusiasm, and a most likeable man. As he was in civic life, prominent in his profession, so he was out here a most efficient and courageous officer. He was always thorough, and everything that was given him to do was done well and in a most cheerful spirit. The army has lost one of a kind we can ill-afford to lose." – The Brunswickan, 1926

In keeping with the memorial nature of the window, a piece of stained glass from the bombed cathedral at Ypres has been incorporated in the lower right panel. The glass was retrieved by UNB alumnus Clarence Steeves.

The window is based on a painting by George Frederick Watts, an English Symbolist painter famous for his allegorical scenes. It features scenes from Lord Tennyson’s poem Sir Galahad and quotes “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure,” an allusion to the young man taken in his prime.

John Douglas Hazen window

Hazen window

Dedicated to John Douglas Hazen (1860 to 1937), UNB class of 1879. J.D. Hazen was Chief Justice of the New Brunswick Supreme Court, Premier of New Brunswick and served as Minister of Marine and Fisheries in Ottawa during the First World War. The window was the gift of his children and was installed on Founders’ Day, 1943.

The window presents a heraldic display of the decorations of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, of which Hazen was a Knight Commander. It also presents the order’s motto Auspicium Melioris Aevi, the token of a better age. Above, enclosed in wreaths of laurel, are the scales of justice and the pen and scroll of statesmanship. The maple leaf figures prominently in this design and is a tribute to Hazen’s long service to Canada, as one of UNB’s most distinguished graduates and a prominent Canadian.

The medallions above display the crests of the province of New Brunswick, the cities of Saint John and Fredericton and the dominion of Canada.

Franklin Sharp Rankin window

Rankin window

Dedicated to Franklin Sharp Rankin and his sister Marjory Rankin Coleman, who died unexpectedly, by their father Dr. W.D. Rankin of Woodstock, N.B. Franklin Sharp Rankin was the eldest son of Dr. Rankin and was studying at the Royal Military College when he enlisted with the 28th New Brunswick Dragoons. Anxious for action, he transferred to the 1st Brighton Field Company and then became a Lieutenant of the Royal Flying Corps. He was shot down over Bapaume in 1916.

"One cannot help but feel — it is only natural — that this window will stand in our memories not only as a memorial to a son and a daughter of the Doctor but as a memorial to the donor, Dr. Rankin himself. May this fine gift, and more especially the fine and virile useful life of the donor be a constant and lasting inspiration to succeeding classes of young men and young women passing through these Halls to noble and useful service." – Alumni Bulletin, June 20, 1928

The window features the triumph of good over evil from John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

John Fletcher Taylor Window

Taylor window

Dedicated to John Fletcher Taylor (1834 to 1916), UNB 1896. Gift of his brother F. R. Taylor. The window features scenes from the poems by Robert Burns To a Mountain Daisy and The Cotter’s Saturday Night.

To a Mountain Daisy

Wee, modest, crimson tipped flow’r,
Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow’r,
Thou bonie gem.

The Cotter's Saturday Night

From scenes like these, old Scotia’s grandeur springs
That makes her lov’d at home, rever’d abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
‘An honest man’s the noblest work of God’


The stained-glass windows of Memorial Hall are part of the cultural heritage of the city of Fredericton and the province of New Brunswick. They were featured in John Leroux’s book Glorious Light published by Gaspereau Press in 2011 and are featured in tourist brochures and in heritage tours of the city.

2018 restoration project

Over time, these exceptional windows have become unstable due to the settling of the building and general deterioration from exposure to the elements. The effect of the intense sunshine on the East windows was exacerbated by the unvented glass installed on the exterior of the building.

While useful for protecting the fragile stained glass, the exterior windowpanes had the unfortunate effect of creating a superheated air pocket that in combination with the sheer weight of the glass itself weakened the lead came, causing the glass to buckle and crack. In some cases, glass went missing. At some point, to prevent moisture seepage, someone used Portland Cement to seal the lead to the glass. Not only did this mar the original fine lines of the lead came, creating an ugly silhouette, but it was almost impossible to remove.

Years of condensation, dirt and general decay had caused the tracery and sills to deteriorate and become built up with grime. The clarity of the windows was further obscured by the grimy, almost opaque glass and a metal grill installed to protect them from potential impact.

Taking Ned Bowes over 2000 hours and two years to complete, the restoration of these windows included removing the glass one section at a time from their location, carefully sandwiching them between slabs of gyprock and transporting them to his studio in Brockway, NB. Ned then began the painstaking process of removing thousands of pieces of glass from their lead armatures, cleaning each one, reassembling them with new lead and eventually re-installing them in Memorial Hall.

Disassembling and cleaning the glass involved soaking each section in an oil bath for up to two months to loosen the cement and came. Especially challenging were the sections of the Ashburnham, Taylor, and Fenwick windows that were parged with Portland cement from an early attempt to seal and stabilize the windows. Having previously used WD40, Ned experimented with other products and discovered an effective glass cleaning product that worked much more quickly to penetrate the cement, making it more porous and easier to remove. He then scraped and shaved the lead and cement from the back of each section, allowing the pieces of glass to be removed. Once removed, the front, back and each edge were thoroughly cleaned.

Photographic references, exact measurements and a grid system allowed Ned to relocate the pieces to their proper position. Once the pieces were in place, he used lead came reinforced with a brass core to rebuild the sections of window. These were soldered, holding the glass pieces in place and then tied to reinforcing rods.

Made up of a variety of types of glass, each window is unique and slightly different. Particularly challenging were the sections made from mouth-blown English glass. This glass, when rolled out, varied in thickness from 3/8 to 1/16 of an inch. This variation required studios to make their own lead came profiles to accommodate the irregularities. Limited by commercially available products, Ned used a lead profile that was slightly larger than the original. As a result, the final dimension of the windows was slightly larger than originally. This along with the asymmetry of the windows required slight adjustments in the installation of the windows back into their frames.

Once all the glass panels were finished, they were repackaged in their gyprock sandwiches and transported from Ned’s studio back to Memorial Hall. Once on site, each window segment was laid out for final cleaning, measuring, preparing and finishing. Ned Bowes along with his assistant Trevor Wells, spent the better part of the summer of 2018 working on this final phase.

While Ned and Trevor were working on the windows, UNB Facilities Management removed the boards and insulation that had been placed over the windows for the winter to keep out the elements. Once the sills and tracery were repaired and painted, the stained-glass panels were returned to their original location. A sheet of LEXAN was installed on the exterior of the windows and vented to permit the exchange of air, keeping moisture and heat from building up. LEXAN is a transparent thermoplastic product that comes in large sheets and is perfectly suited to this application: it is resistant to ultraviolet light; it is impact and scratch resistant; it does not fade, discolour or become brittle over time and it can handle the extreme temperatures of New Brunswick’s harsh climate.

In 2018, after 2000 hours and over two years, the restoration was completed.

The stained-glass windows are an integral part of the Gothic character of Memorial Hall and contribute to creating a space which is attractive, humane and welcoming. The auditorium is a place which gathers people together and fosters creativity and exchange. It is an incubator for artistic pursuits at UNB and invites an audience to share in the exceptional creations of artists, actors, dancers, musicians and poets.

The newly restored stained-glass windows are truly a showpiece for the University of New Brunswick. No longer marred by cement and dirt, or obstructed by external barriers, the windows have been returned to their original brilliance, preserved for the next generation.

Dedicated to members of the university community, the windows commemorate Henry Seabury Bridges, John Fletcher Taylor, Thomas, Earl of Ashburnham, Lieutenant George Paget Fenwick, Loring Woart Bailey, John Douglas Hazen and Franklin Sharp Rankin and Marjory Rankin Coleman; real people, who through their hard work, dedication and sacrifice, contributed to the quality of life in this province.

Projects like the restoration of the stained-glass windows raise awareness within the community about the importance of cultural objects, the need for their preservation and the significance of the past.

These windows, like any other work of art, provide cultural enrichment to the community. They have the power to inspire, challenge, educate and assist people in the process of discovery. These windows provide a foundation upon which tomorrow is built.

While stained glass artists are quite rare, even rarer are those who have the knowledge and expertise to work with old glass on an architectural scale. Fortunately, Ned Bowes who lives just outside Fredericton along the Magaguadavic River is such a man. Born and raised in Miramichi, NB, his interest in the decorative arts led him to Calgary in 1974 where he began to work on restoration projects with English artist Robert Hunt.

He later had a rare opportunity to train with the French stained glass artist Maurice Loriaux in his studio in Santa Fe, NM. Loriaux who had worked with Marc Chagall, was one of the foremost producers of ecclesiastical glass in the United States. Ned was awarded the title of “Maitre de Vitraux” from the American Stained-Glass Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1980.

With over 38 years of experience, Ned has worked on large restoration projects throughout North America and Barbados. He has worked on the windows of most of the churches in New Brunswick and historic homes in Fredericton. Ned and his company, Shades of Light, produced the "Encaenia" windows from the drawing by Molly Lamb Bobak. These windows can be seen in the Edwin Jacob Chapel of Sir Howard Douglas Hall.

Ned has dedicated his vast knowledge and exceptional skill to bringing Memorial Hall’s signature stained glass windows back to their original glory.


The UNB Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of the Province of New Brunswick’s Built Heritage Program, the University of New Brunswick, UNB Associated Alumni, the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, the Alvin J. Shaw Trust, the City of Fredericton and many private donors.

This project would not have been possible without the generosity and interest of these donors.