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In this final instalment of our four-part celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the York Glaziers Trust, we look at some of the work undertaken by the YGT since 1967. A select list of major projects appears at the foot of this article. Many of the windows mentioned in this list can be viewed in the CVMA Picture Archive.
Previous instalments of this history may be found in the archive: part 1 in Vidimus no. 12 (November 2007), part 2 in Vidimus no. 13 (December 2007), and part 3 in Vidimus no. 14 (January 2008).
The Trust has worked at many of York’s historic churches and museums. The former include All Saints, North Street, where there were glazing campaigns from two different periods, the first from the first half of the fourteenth century, when the east end of the church was rebuilt, and the second from the fifteenth century, when the north and south walls were rebuilt. The latter scheme includes two outstanding windows, the well-known ‘Pricke of Conscience’ scheme showing the last fifteen days of the world, and a vivid depiction of the Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy, both subjects reflecting medieval ideas about social conscience and repentance.
The YGT has conserved stained glass belonging to York City Art Gallery. Some of the better-known pieces in this collection were made by the seventeenth-century artist Henry Gyles (1646–1709), who is credited with reviving glass-painting in England after the civil wars between crown and parliament. Among these pieces is a painted sundial made by Gyles for Nun Appleton Hall, near York, signed and dated 1670. Examples of Gyles’s work can also be seen in the Merchant Taylors’ Company Hall, York (1662); Staveley Church, Derbyshire (1676); the chapel of University College, Oxford (1687, fragments only); the library of Trinity College, Cambridge (1690); and St Helen’s Church, Denton in Wharfedale (Yorkshire, 1700).
The priory church of St Mary, St Catherine and All Saints, Edington (Wiltshire), was built on the site of an earlier Norman church by William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester 1346–66. Surviving panels of its late fourteenth-century glazing were restored by the Trust in 1972. One of the most important panels in the north clerestory windows depicts St William of York, his mitre and archiepiscopal robes diapered and enriched with golden silver stain. Poor-quality glass has caused some paint loss here.
Some of the most important commissions undertaken by the Trust have been at Oxford Colleges, including Balliol College, Lincoln College, New College and Trinity College. At Lincoln College, the Trust conserved windows of 1629–30 attributed to the Dutch glass painter, Abraham van Linge.
Since 2000, the Trust has conserved important late fourteenth-century windows in the ante-chapel at New College. The windows were made by Thomas Glazier of Oxford, who is recorded as having attended one of two great gaudes in the College in 1386, alongside other craft contemporaries responsible for the building of the college: William Wynard (architect/master mason), Hugh Herland (carpenter), and Henry Yevele (architect/mason mason). According to the Hall Book, the Libri Senescallis, Thomas dined in the College five times in 1387–88, six times in 1388–89, approximately four times every year from 1390 to 1398, and once or twice a year after that.
Professor Richard Marks has suggested that Thomas’s work in the chapel was carried out in two stages, with the Old Testament figures and saints in the ante-chapel inserted during the main construction period of the college (1380–86), and a Jesse tree (formerly in the west window and since the eighteenth century in York Minster) inserted later, in the 1390s. The figure style of the first phase has been likened to the style of English manuscripts of the 1380s. In addition to Thomas’s work at New College, windows attributed to him and his workshop can be seen at Drayton St Leonard (Oxfordshire), and Winchester College and Winchester Cathedral (both in Hampshire).
At Trinity College, the Trust has cleaned and re-leaded fifteenth-century glass possibly made for the pre-Reformation chapel of Durham College, the previous occupant of the same site. The Trust also installed a new window in the Old Library designed by YGT artist, Rachel Thomas.
In 1989, the Trust conserved the sixteenth-century Tree of Jesse window at St Dyfnog’s Church, Llanrhaeadr (Denbighshire), probably the finest pre-Reformation glass in Wales. Dated 1533, the window contains twenty-three figures and traces the human family tree of Christ. An inscription discovered by glass-painter and historian Charles Winston in 1849 suggests that it was the gift of ‘Rob(er)ti Johni clerici’ (‘Robert Jones, priest’). The church also houses fragments of earlier glass, now arranged in the west window.
One of the earliest commissions undertaken by the Trust was the conservation of the Swiss glass at Wragby Church in North Yorkshire. Assembled by Charles Winn (1795–1874), the owner of Nostell Priory, the panels range in date from 1514 to 1745 and have been described as the ‘largest [collection of its kind] outside the Swiss County Museum in Zurich.’
Although the Trust is best known for its work with medieval glass, it has also worked on the conservation of nineteenth-century windows at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, and windows by the much admired twentieth-century Arts and Crafts artist Karl Parsons (1884–1934) at All Saints Church, Porthcawl, Wales. Parsons began his training as a pupil-apprentice to Christopher Whall when he was fifteen and subsequently designed important windows for Cape Town Cathedral in 1908 under Whall’s supervision. After leaving Whall, he set up his own studio and taught at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts. The Porthcawl window was given as a memorial to parishioners killed in the First World War, and part of the window was used as the Christmas stamp in 1992. Other examples of Parsons’s work can also be seen at Bibury (Glos.), Waterford (Herts.), and Tenby (Dyfed).
Apart from ongoing maintenance and repair, the Trust has conserved the nave clerestory windows; conserved the Great West Window; conserved the Te Deum Window in the west wall of the south transept; twice conserved the rose window in the south transept; conserved the St William Window; begun the conservation of the Chapter House vestibule glass; and begun the conservation of the Great East Window.
•All Saints’, North Street
•All Saints’, Pavement
•Merchant Adventurers’ Hall
•Merchant Taylors’ Hall
•St Martin, Coney Street
•St Michael le Belfry.
•St Michael, Spurriergate
•The Heritage Centre, Castlegate
•York Art Gallery
•Buckinghamshire: Drayton Beauchamp
•Cheshire: Accrington Hall, Sefton. Cleveland: Kirkleatham Hospital Chapel
•County Durham: Brancepeth Castle, Jarrow
•Cumbria: Carlisle Cathedral
•Lancashire: Sefton, Turton Tower Museum
•Leicestershire: Ayston, Goadby Marwood, Thurcaston
•Lincolnshire: Carlton Scroop, Stamford
•Manchester: St Anne’s, Middleton
•Northamptonshire: Barnwell, Edgcote, Helmdon, Hinton in the Hedges, Newton Bromswold, Weldon
•Oxford: Balliol College, Lincoln College, New College, Trinity College
•Oxfordshire: Stanton St John
•Somerset: Wells Cathedral (chapter house)
•Yorkshire: Acaster Malbis, Barnsley (Cannon Hall Museum), Beverley Minster, Bradford (Boling Hall Museum), Castle Howard School, Denton-in-Wharfdale, Doncaster (Museum and Art Gallery), East Riddlestone Hall, Huddersfield, Selby Abbey, Wragby
•Wales: Dyserth, Llanrhaedr, Marchweil, Porthcawl
•Ireland: Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin).
Thanks are due to Helen Carey of IPC/Country Life Picture Library, and Caroline Worthington of York Museum Services, for their help with the section on York Art Gallery; and to Peter Martin for his help with the Wragby item.
Vidimus is grateful to Amanda Daw, Peter Gibson O.B.E., Louise Hampson, Nick Teed, Rachel Thomas and the staff of the YGT, and the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for their help with this series. Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are reproduced with kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of York Minster
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