The window hidden by the ladies’ choir vestry in St Mary’s is a partner to that in the men’s vestry, and they are connected in another way too, for one is of Elijah and the other is sometimes referred to as the second Elijah, namely John the Baptist.
The figure of John in the window is not as strong and robust a figure as we sometimes imagine him to be. He seems reflective and at peace, while the New Testament depicts him as one thundering his message to his listeners and being a voice to prepare the way. This John is one who is far-seeing and standing in a gentle stream of the water of life, rather than a river in full flow.
The person of John apart, the entwining flowers around the scene: yellow flag and forget-me-not, water-lily and golden sedge, reflect something more of what this window intends to recall: a much loved rector of more than a century ago, who died very young and is commemorated in this stained glass. “He was a burning and shining light and we were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” is the wording on this window of remembrance. It was given by the congregation. Let us recall him today: William Arthur Wilson, Rector of Swanage 1902-1905.