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Storm damage at Soisson Cathedral

Fig. 1. Storm damage to the west rose window at Soissons Cathedral.
Fig. 1. Storm damage to the west rose window at Soissons Cathedral.

Fig. 1. Storm damage to the west rose window at Soissons Cathedral.

Late in the evening of 12th January, a violent storm seriously damaged the magnificent west rose window of the cathedral of Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais at Soissons. Exceptionally strong gusts of winds tore the central oculus free from the window, shattering much of the glass, and leaving the remains suspended perilously from the broken tracery ‘petals’. This is the third time that the stained glass of the west rose window has been destroyed, following the explosion of a powder magazine in front of the church in 1815 and heavy bombardments during the First World War, but it is the first time that the stonework too has been seriously damaged. The explosion of glass and stone into the cathedral also badly damaged the great organ: the central window’s rosette was found on the organ bench. Scaffolding has now gone up and barriers have been installed to prevent the public from approaching the fragile remains of the window. Access to the cathedral will be closed until further notice. Masses will be celebrated, as during each window, in the adjoining chapel.