‘Prayer During the War’ by James Leigh Strachan-Davidson, Master of Balliol 1907-1916, for use in the College chapel during the First World War.
O God with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, we give thee thanks for our brethren the members of this College who have willingly offered themselves, and have laid down their lives for us and for our country, and for the liberty of the world. Give us grace to follow their good example, that we may never lose heart, but may bear with patience and courage, as these have done, whatever thy Providence calls upon us to endure. Comfort the bereaved, and grant to all of us that our afflictions may purify our hearts and minds to thy glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Strachan-Davidson’s manuscript also includes a prayer for the wounded:
We beseech thy goodness O Lord on behalf of the members of our College who are lying stricken from wounds received in battle in a righteous and holy cause, especially for [names]. Comfort each one of them when he lieth sick on his bed and grant them thy strength and grace to bear the pain and weariness of their condition, and, if it be thy will, assuage their sufferings and grant them restoration to life and health. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Strachan-Davidson himself died during the course of the war, in post as Master, on 28 March 1916, at the age of 72.
Best information about the history and content of the stained glass in Balliol chapel:
- History of the stained glass in the chapel, before and after rearrangements in 1912, HERE.
- Victoria County History entry for Balliol Chapel, including building and furnishings, with a section on glass
Images of the stained glass in Balliol Chapel as they are now:
- Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi
- Excellent photos by Gordon Plumb on Flickr, who also uses the CVMA numbering system, and more from Rex Harris.
Here is a VERY brief walk-round summary of the glass, beginning on the north side at the west end, i.e. on your left as you come in the door. It is intended to help visitors identify which window is which; for details of the history of the windows and descriptions of the glass, see sources above.
September 2016 update: two windows (nIV and nV above) have been removed to the York Glaziers’ Trust for conservation work. They will be reinstated in the spring of 2017.