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
The Cathedral, the largest church in St.Vincent, has
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).