I saw a new heaven and a new earth  —  Wilbeforce and Shaftsbury

I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Christ Church, Chelsea. 1929. Designer: Archibald Keightley Nicholson (1871-1937). Wilberforce and Lord Shaftsbury flank St. John and his vision of a new Jerusalem in this lower portion of the west window.

This portion of beautiful stained glass window at the West end of this church originally built for members of the working classes, including servants from the houses on nearby Cheyne Walk, includes Wilberforce, one of the leaders of the anti-slavery movement, and the Earl of Shaftesbury, a major philanthropist, with Christ and biblical personages. The Christ Church website explains, “The cost of building the new church was paid for by the Hydman Trust; the Hydman family having originally made their money in the West Indies, where they owned extensive sugar plantations.” In other words, the church was built from the profits of slavery. Wilberforce might well have appreciated the irony. The church history continues: ”The Trustees however, were concerned at the spiritual well-being of the new urban working class emerging in this country and they used the considerable funds at their disposal for the erection of churches.”

Text, photograph, and formatting by George P. Landow. Research by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]

Related Material


Christ Church — A Brief History” Web. Viewed 8 January 2011.

Eberhard, Robert. “Stained Glass Windows at Christ Church.Stained Glass records. Web. 20 January 2013.

Last modified 8 January 2011