A concert by the Band and Bugles of the Rifles Regiment will take place at Winchester Cathedral on 26 April as part of a final push to raise £800,000 for the preservation of medieval glass of ʻexceptional significanceʼ in the buildingʼs presbytery. The current total of the appeal, run by the Friends of Winchester Cathedral, has already topped £550,000, having been launched a year ago.
During the English Civil War, most of the cathedralʼs stained glass was smashed by Parliamentarian troops, who even hurled ancient royal bones interred in mortuary chests at the windows they could not reach to destroy them. Medieval glazing in the aisles either side of the choir and in the clerestory was the only glass to survive the savage assault.
A 2012 conservatorʼs report found the condition of the windows to be much worse than previously thought, with urgent work required to prevent their being lost forever. Some have holes in them, and much painted detail has been lost, while surrounding stonework has been eroded by the weather over the centuries. Yet the report said the windows were of ʻexceptional significanceʼ, pivotal to the nationʼs understanding of glass-painting and design at that time. The earliest of this glass dates back to 1450, but the appeal is intended to cover also the conservation of the large east window, a Victorian restoration of medieval glass taken from elsewhere in the building.
Tickets for the event are available from the cathedral box office, on line, or by telephone (01962 857275), and cost £25, £18 or £10. Concessions are available for the armed forces and young people.