The first of a series of windows have been removed as a major restoration project gets under way at York Minster. The windows, in the south choir clerestory, date to the early years of the fifteenth century – a period of great glazing activity at the Minster – and are now showing their age after 600 years of braving the bracing Northern climate unprotected.
Work on the glass will take at least a decade to complete, treating corrosion, damage and paint loss, and stabilising the leads that hold the panels together. When the windows are ultimately restored to their openings, their fine painting and sophisticated iconography, telling of the triumph of Christianity in the North of England, will, once more, be fully in evidence. Importantly, the protective glazing with which they will be reinstalled will also preserve the windows for future generations.
The restoration of the south choir clerestory marks the first phase of a longer, twenty-year plan at the Minster to restore and properly protect the medieval stained glass for which the church is celebrated.