Church of England Diocese of Oxford Holy Trinity, Windsor

Trinity Tour 2

3 Apr 2020, noon

The Deliverance Window is the rightmost window above the altar. It was made by Campbell Smith & Co and unveiled on 30 June 1882 attended by Queen Victoria, accompanied by Princess Beatrice, Princess Elizabeth & Princess Irene of Hesse. The central scene depicts Queen Victoria seated holding Sceptre of State in the right hand and an Indian chaplet in the left. The Angel of Mercy holding a sword lifts up a cloak hiding an assassin dressed as the grim Reaper of Death with sword in his right hand, broken in three pieces. The dedication reads “To the Glory of God and in grateful commemoration of the merciful deliverance of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria on the 2nd of March 1882”.

The window was placed in thanksgiving for Queen Victoria’s deliverance from an assassination attempt outside the Great Western (now Central) Railway Station in Windsor when Roderick Maclean attempted to fire a pistol at her. He was spotted and seized by two Eton Schoolboys who reportedly beat him with their umbrellas. At his trial Maclean was found “not guilty but insane” – the only possible verdict for someone who was judged to be insane. This led to a change in the law in 1883, at the request of Queen Victoria, which would allow a “guilty but insane” verdict in similar circumstances.

Of the two Eton schoolboys little is known of Leslie Robinson (or Roberts or Robertson) – the other was Gordon Wilson. Gordon was born in Victoria, Australia, in 1865. He was the son of a Sir Samuel Wilson a wealthy farmer/landowner and occasional politician. They moved to England in the late 1870s / early 1880s and took a lease on nearby Hughenden Manor in 1881 (home of former Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, and now a National Trust property). Sir Samuel was probably a substantial contributor to the window (which may account for how swiftly it was in place after the event). Gordon joined the army, eventually becoming the Commanding Officer of the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) – so Holy Trinity would have been his regiment’s church in Windsor. Gordon died from his wounds in November 1914 and is buried in Zillebeke Churchyard near Ypres. He is remembered, with many other members of his regiment, in a Book of Remembrance in Holy Trinity. Gordon’s wife was Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill – she is well known for being one of the first female war correspondents and covering the Siege of Mafeking (and was Winston Churchill’s aunt).