About St. George’s Cathedral
The Cathedral Church of St. George is located on Grenville Street in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies. The Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of the Windward Islands, which is part of the Province of the West Indies.
The church was built on the site of an earlier Anglican Church which was destroyed by a hurricane in 1780. The new church, which was dedicated on the 1st September 1820, though still majestic, is now in need of extensive restoration.
The Cathedral is part of the parish of Saints George and Andrew. This parish also includes the Church of the Transfiguration at Lowmans Hill (Leeward), the Church of the Ascension at Sion Hill and the Church of the Holy Redeemer at Redemption Sharpes.
History of St. George’s Cathedral
The St. George’s Cathedral was built on the site of an earlier Anglican Church which was destroyed by a hurricane in 1780. The new church dedicated on the 1st September 1820, was built at a cost of £47,000. Five thousand of this amount was a contribution given by the Government from the money realised from the sale of the Carib Lands.
This Georgian Church was built with a cupola which covered the steeple. This was blown off during the 1898 hurricane. The nave, the lower stages of the tower and the galleried interior are of the same architecture. The two transepts added during the periods 1880-1887 are examples of the Victorian architecture.
The Cathedral, the largest church in St.Vincent, has a chandelier made of guilded wood. It was said that the chandelier was a gift from King George I. If this is so, it must have survived the 1780 hurricane. There is yet another story that the chandelier was made in Europe for a church in South America. While being transported there, the ship was wrecked. The chandelier was however salvaged, and ended up in St.George’s Cathedral. Archbishop G.C.M. Woodroffe said that it was given to the church by King William IV.
Adorning the church are a brass shaped eagle lectern, a circular mahogany pulpit and a white marble font which was dedicated on 1st December 1918 as a memorial to Archdeacon Turpin for his many years of service as a prelate and a member of the House of Assembly. It has an old nineteenth century organ by Bevington of Soho as well as a modern electronic one. Illuminating the area above the High Altar are three stained glass windows (Kempe) with scenes showing St. George (the patron of the church); St. Michael and the four Evangelists; the Crucifixion; the Virgin Mary and St. John.
The brightly coloured stained glass window in the South Transept is a twentieth century addition and memorial to the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. It depicts an angel clothed in red pointing to the inscription: “He is not here. He is risen”. Queen Victoria commissioned this stained glass window for her grandson. She was so shocked when she saw the angel in red instead of the Biblical description of angels in white raiment that she fainted and ordered it to be put away. It remained in storage for many years in St.Paul’s Cathedral until Bishop Jackson discovered it while on holiday in London. Dean Inge brought it back to St.Vincent where it now adorns the South Transept.
The painting on the North Transept shows the Virgin Mary being borne away by the angels. The walls of this church are being adorned with numerous tablets and memorials many of which give concise accounts of our historical past. Outstanding is the memorial to Sir Charles Brisbane, the governor who was instrumental in getting the grant of five thousand pounds for rebuilding the church. Under the chandelier is a large stone slab which is a memorial to Alexander Leith who slayed Chatoyer at Dorsetshire Hill in 1795. The Celtic and Welsh crosses on the tombstone in the church tell their story. There is a large memorial to Governor Leybourne in the northern section of the churchyard.
Taken from Inventory of Historic sites and buildings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by Norma Keizer for the OAS/GOSVG (1990).