All about windows

11 December 2009

by Margaret Duggan

IT IS a long and tedious busi­ness, removing the glass from the Great South Window of Canterbury Cathedral (above). They start at the bottom, and take out the panels piece by piece as they build up the scaf­folding.

The glass includes 22 panels of the ancestors of Christ, dating from the 12th century, and is some of the earliest and finest in the cathedral — and possibly some of the most important in the country, says Leonie Seiliger, who is in charge of the cathedral’s stained glass.

Fortunately, the panels are in good condition, having been repaired in the 1970s, but it is the stonework of the window that is causing problems. Stone is “bursting” and falling off, says Karen Gambrell, of the cathedral appeal department, and as soon as the glass is safely removed and stored, the conservators will be able to investigate what needs to be done.

The South Oculus window, the roundel high up in the south-east transept which depicts New Testament stories, is also in trouble. Well-wishers are being invited to log on to, and sponsor a small sec­tion, or “tile”, of the window at £10 a time (News, 4 Decem­ber).

The website shows a faded-out image of the window in which the tiles already spon­sored have been illuminated so that the glory of the window becomes clear. They hope this will raise £13,000 towards the £500,000 needed for this window alone — which is a drop in the ocean of the £50 million the cathedral needs.

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