The two quatrefoils present us with a puzzle. Between them the lobes of the have eleven characters on each of the left and right quatrefoil, the top, right and left lobes having three characters each whilst the bottom lobes have only two. There is no obvious sign that the left contains only Old Testament characters nor that the right contains only New Testament characters, as is the case in the lower part of the window.

Looking at the right quatrefoil.

The number of characters in each lobe match those in the left quatrefoil

In the top lobe two of the characters are carrying palm fronds, often signifying martyrdom, in the case of the figure to the right, in a red robe, a stone is seen in his right hand and this suggests that the figure is St Stephen, the first Christian martyr. The other palm carrying figure in white also carries a cross perhaps indicating martyrdom by crucifixion. Only a small part of the third figure is visible.

In the left lobe all the three figures are carrying palm fronds indicating martyrdom. The faces bear a resemblance to John, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene from the crucifixion panel below but none of these would be considered as martyrs. In the foreground in a blue gown, with golden hair and carrying a lamb might be Mary Magdalene.

In the right lobe we see two figures wearing bishops' mitres and one wearing a crown. It is a bit strange to see bishops in a presbyterian church window, particularly from the 1890s. In the foreground the man in green robes is carrying a triple cross, not too far removed from that associated with popes, even stranger given the window's provenance. A dovelike bird is flying by his head and he is carrying what appears to be a sealed book or casket and has pink-purple gloves. St David of Wales would be a possibility for this character. The “bishop” in crimson robes is carrying what looks like a golden soldier's helmet.

If the “bishops” in the right lobe are a surprise the bottom lobe is even more so, a bishop-like figure in bronze robes and wearing green gloves is holding a flaming heart.  Note also the odd symbol on the green glove on his left hand.

The other figure in red robes and hat and holding a cross in one hand and a bible in the other looks like a figure from the reformation – possibly Martin Luther, though not wearing the type of hat with which he is normally depicted.


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Alloway Parish Church of Scotland, Alloway, KA7 4PQ, No. 100538

Scotttish Registered Charity No. SC012456