Other Memorials, Tablets and Ornaments
Chris Price

Updated November 2014

St Faith’s has acquired relatively few memorial tablets and plaques in its first century: it is possible that some gifts and installations have gone unrecorded. Of those that can be found one, the Joseph Bell Titanic memorial in the south aisle, is written about elsewhere in this series of articles, while others are briefly detailed in the articles on the woodwork and brass of St Faith’s.

Close to the Bell brass is an equally large wall tablet commemorating Dr William Gay, a prominent and clearly much-respected member of Crosby medical society and of St Faith’s, where he was Churchwarden. At the east end of the north choir transept, is the Boy Jesus statue on its pedestal. A plaque on the latter records as follows:

In devoted memory of Niel Brook a choir boy and server at this church who gave his life in the service of his country 24th July 1941 this statue and pedestal are given to the glory of God by his loving mother 1948. 

The spelling of 'Niel' is correct: the memorial list incorrectly gives his name as Neil.

The steps close by lead to the north transept, behind the fine iron work separating it from the choirstalls. Here can be found one surviving wall-mounted small shelf supported on a gilded cherub: the other was sadly misappropriated some years ago. It bears the legend Helena Mary Costin 1880—1964, while to its left a plaque reading Harold Arthur Costin 1884—1957 marks the site of the missing item. Mr and Mrs Costin were the parents of Margaret Hesketh Roberts.

The Arthur Dooley cased statuette of the Madonna and Child stands on the remaining shelf. This latter, a beautiful bronze figure with a single pearl to represent the Christ Child, was presented to the church by the late Mr Dooley, possibly the finest sculptor Liverpool has produced, following what at the time seemed an over-optimistic request from this writer when Mr Dooley paid a visit to St Faith’s.

The transept wall houses the ashes of four notable past members of St Faith’s, with inset carved stones recording their names and dates. From left to right they read: Robert W Jones Churchwarden 1938-1956. Died 21st October 1956. RIP; Ernest Walter Storer Canon of Liverpool Cathedral. Died 22 September 1958. RIP; Canon Mark Luft. Headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ School 1964-1969. Died 19 April 1986. RIP; George Goodwin Sacristan 1966-1986. Died 28 March 1986. RIP.

Both of the hymn boards bear inscriptions. That on the Lady Chapel side reads: In loving memory of Elizabeth E Smith. E.M. of the Mothers’ Union 1948-1955, while that on the pulpit side has a more elaborate inscription: Charles Henry Cheetham Sewell. A faith/Is! member of St Faith’s Choir from 1908-1938. One of the Lady Chapel prayer desks bears a plaque: In happy memory of Caroline Mountfield 1857-1947, while the modern Paschal candlestick is inscribed: In memory of JESSIE ELINOR GALE a member of this church for over 50 years.

One final surviving oddity is worth recording. The extreme left hand end of the front pew beneath the pulpit bears an almost intact stuck-on notice in faded dark brown, with the entertaining and possibly optimistic message:

Offertory Alms.
The seats in this church are entirely Free and Unappropriated. All Church Expenses have to be borne by Voluntary Offerings. Let the Alms, therefore, of every worshipper be Regular and Liberal. Issued by the Incorporated Free and Open Church Association, Church House, Dean’s Path; London S.W.

Turning finally to some of the remaining artefacts of our church, we begin in the Lady Chapel. For several years the idea of providing in St Faith’s an opportunity for those who wished to light a votive candle had been discussed, and various designs and costings had been considered. The timely arrival of a legacy by the late Mrs Elsie Bell, and the promise of matching funding by an anonymous member of the congregation, gave a sense of urgency to the project, and, as a result of investigations, Mr Robin McGhie was asked to design a candle stand. The resulting striking tree-shaped design was partly the result of seeing the candle stand in Wakefield Cathedral, where past Vicar Fr Richard Capper, during whose time the scheme was first actively discussed, was for some years Vice Provost.

The final pricket stand design was manufactured in black wrought iron by Wilkinson Welding and Fabrication of St Helen’s and dedicated in October 1998 in the presence of the designer and members of Elsie Bell’s family. It is situated in the Lady Chapel, where the lighted candles can be seen to particularly good effect from inside the south entry to the church, and has proved a much-valued addition to the furnishings of St Faith’s. It accommodates 10 nightlights and 30 votive candles and has become a valued and well-used part of the devotional life of our Church.

Also in the Lady Chapel may be seen a corner flower shelf, with a plaque recording its dedication Given by the ‘84 Group in loving memory of our friends Elsie Bell and Ethel Green April 1987. An earlier small shelf in the same position was replaced in that month by a much larger construction carrying this plaque. The size and colour of this replacement, however, became the cause of some controversy and, following prolonged representations, it was finally replaced by the present so-called ‘arbour niche’, which conforms for size and colour to diocesan requirements, and owes its curious name to the Diocesan Advisory Committee. It is perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial!) of the various flower stands, shelves and brackets in the church.

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