This is a Thomas Hall single-manual tracker organ. It is the oldest organ in regular use in the State of Connecticut, and the only remaining Hall organ in the country. It has ranks of working metal pipes inside a handsome mahogany case. There are large decorative wooden pipes in front of the case and a carved, wooden flame above it. The wooden pipes and flame are gilded with genuine gold leaf.
Visitors from all parts of the country have admired the mellowness of this organ’s tones. The curators of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington have seen the organ, and each has asked for the organ should anything happen to the church. The organ and the church’s wonderful acoustics contribute a beautiful sound to the congregation’s singing and worship
The Chancel Window- The financial records of the First Episcopal Society of Litchfield tell us that “in 1825, $500 was appropriated for improvements in St. Michael’s Church.” It is likely that our altar window was installed at that time. This window was assembled in this country, using inserts (placets) of glass imported from England. It is a “grisaille” composite, with five colored medallions, one depicting a pelican, and another the Pascel Lamb. Other geometric forms are mounted on a background of stenciled diamonds, fused onto clear glass in America. This process reduced the cost to a third or a half of a full stained glass windown imported into this country. The window was transferred to Trinity, Milton in 1851, when the second St. Michael’s was torn down.
Three medallion-type inserts speak for themselves- a dove, a Baptismal font, and a Communion chalice. the pelican is the traditional medieval Christian symbol of the Lord’s redeeming work. She has just finished feeding her young and is now at rest. The Lamb is a biblical symbol of Christ. Here it carries a banner with a cross.
In 1984 the U.S. Endowment for the Humanities carried out a National Census of Stained Glass Windows. At Fr. Caroon’s behest, the Litchfield survey was completed by Col. Raymond. After sending in a report listing three Tiffany windows in the small town of Litchfield, nothing was heard for months. Then Col Raymond received a letter from Professor Virginia Raguin, director of the study. It made no mention of the Tiffany’s, but called the Milton window “a remarkable find, one of the oldest stained glass windows in America.” Later Professor Raguin wrote a book about this study, included this window in it, and visited Trinity, Milton to see it for herself.
At about 4:30 PM on Monday, July 10, 1989, the first-ever tornado in 200 struck Milton. It brought a young maple tree behind the church down violently onto the window. Instead of hitting the glass and shattering it, the tree struck the heavy plexiglass covering. Branches of the tree broke, not the window. At the time a carpenter was working in the church and had the front door open. Had the door been tightly closed in the hot summer sun, it might have exploded when hit by the cold spout of the tornado as did the town hall and Methodist Church in Bantam, a few miles away.
This window was restored and its covering renewed in 1994 through the generosity of the Seherr-Thoss Foundation. This marked the beginning of the project to restore the stained glass windows of the church as descibed below.
The Stained Glass Windows- In 1909 and 1910, the then-rector, the Rev’d Clarence C. Beers seems to have thought that modernization might improve declining attendance. For the original clear hand-blown glass of the windows of the nave, he substituted mass-produced Victorian stained glass memorial windows. The early inhabitants of Litchfield and Milton came from Windsor, Wethersfield, and Middletown in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Southold, Long Island, New York. As is usual in a small community, families intermarried. Consequently the names proliferate. On April 23, 1910, the memorial windows were dedicated by Bishop Brewster. These windows are now in the process of being restored and protected with clear outside coverings.
The first window on the left was given to the Glory of God and In Memory of Alban Guild 1784-1874 and Everett Hale Wright 1823-1883 presented by the Woman’s Guild. It depicts Jesus with the children who have come to learn at his feet. It was restored in 2007 by
This window depicting Jesus as The Good Shepherd was given by Mrs. Isaac Hutchinson for her mother and father; In Loving Memory of Charles Denison Wheeler 1817-1895 and Mary Elizabeth Wheeler, 1821-1910. It was restored in 2007 by
This is one of the four windows depicting the evangelists, the gospel writers. Here the author is portrayed as a man and is mislabelled as Saint Mark. It is St. Matthew who is traditionally portrayed as a man. This window was given by Asahel Griswold, for his mother and father. “In loving memory of Lucius Griswold 1812-1874 and Desire Grannis Griswold 1825-1905.”
This window depicts the lion of St. Mark with the title of St. Matthew. The window was given by Edwin P. Dickinson, various members of the clergy and others “In memory of Oliver Dickinson 1757-1847 Builder of this Church 1802, Edwin P. dickinson 1821-1922, and his wife Harriet G. Dickinson 1827-1876.”
In this window depicting the evangelist Luke with his traditional symbol of the ox, the Bissell brothers remember their father and mother. “To the Glory of God and in Memory of William Bissell 1810-1902 and Amanda Janette Bissell 1811-1892.”
In this window Jesus extends his hands to us urging “Come unto me.” This is the beginning of the familiar passage “Come unto me all ye who travil and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” This was given by Mrs. Minnie Alton in memory of her mother and grandmother. “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of Janette Birge Page and Charlotte Page Clarke.”
We thank Jan Pyk for his photographs of these windows and also throughout this website.