St John's has some 25  main windows and smaller lights around the Church, of which 17 are stained glass, some by renowned artists.

 

Most of these are between 100-150 years old and were showing their age due to the ravages of time, vandalism and earlier repairs of varying quality.  

In 2005 the Church Council began a project to clean, repair and restore these windows and to renew the aging and discoloured protective covers.

 

A detailed, window by window, survey was carried out by our architect and Iona Glass of Northumberland,

(www.iona-art-glass.co.uk) to assess the work required on each window, list the priorities and plan a schedule of work.  

 

Since then slow, but steady, progress has been made. Two windows in the south nave were removed and completely refurbished, several others have been cleaned in situ and all the external protective covers replaced with more modern material. This can also be easily removed by the glaziers for any future work.

 

In the course of our project, we were offered a pair of windows from a now closed Church (St Peter, Sacriston) which needed to be removed and found a ‘good home’. This was used to replace a a pair of clear leaded lights in the south transcept.

 

There are several other old leaded lights in poor and dirty condition which we also hope to replace  in time.

 

One such window, on the north nave opposite the entrance has been replaced in 2014, the cost of this was kindly donated by a parishioner in memory of past family.

 

The only stained glass left to restore is the ‘Resurrection’ in the south transcept.  This has been deferred by the glaziers on a couple of occasions due to unforeseen problems with it’s fitting and condition. We hope this will be restored later in 2014.

 

During the restoration project a pair of windows in the Chancel were found to have been badly repaired in the past and were now in such a poor condition that little of the original remained so it was reluctantly agree to scrap them. They were also very dark and replacing them with clear glass has brightened the Chancel considerably.

Stained Glass at St Johns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The first two of our own windows to be restored.

 

A matching pair in the South Nave by local artist William Wailes (1808 - 1881).

 

 

 

The left hand window shows ‘Resurection’ themes.

 

The upper picture being the Raising of Lazarus and the lower, the empty tomb on Easter morning.

The right hand window has ‘Nativity’ scenes.

 

The upper picture - The Annunciation (announcement) by the angel to Mary. The lower showing the visit of the shepherds

‘Angel of Death’

 

Whilst a fine piece of stained glass artistry, the sentiments of this window raise mixed feelings amongst modern day Church thinking.

It is based on the poem ‘The reaper and the flowers’ by Henry Longfellow.

 

‘The Good Shepherd’

 

 

Two windows in the Nave north wall by renowned artist Daniel Cottier (1837-1891).

 

These are considered such good examples of the artist’s work that we have been instructed by the Diocese to have no work carried out on them other than replacing the protective covers.

In the North Transept (circa late 1940’s) depicting the  ‘Martha & Mary’ story.

 

These were in good condition and only required cleaning & new protective covers.

Two more recent pairs of windows by Stanley Scott (1912-1997), another local artist.

In the south transept, this  pair of windows were removed from St Peter’s , Sacriston on it’s closure and fitted at St Johns after restoration.

 

They depict various scenes of St Peter’s life.

 

The windows were fitted in the the South Transept , opposites Scott’s ‘Martha & Mary’, and replaced a pair of plain leaded windows.

 

In the North Transept this window depicts:

‘Suffer little children to come unto me’.

In the South Transept this window shows ‘The  Resurrection’ with the angel and women at the empty tomb.

 

Due to various difficulties in removing it, attempts at restoration have been ‘put off’ on a couple of occasions. It is, however , the only stained window left to be done and it is hoped to have the work completed in 2014.

The Crucifixion in the East end apse.

 

Two windows which have been removed during the restoration work

The Ascension

This was located in a small window at the side of the apse.

It had been moved and modified at some (unknown) earlier time from elsewhere, and since this photo was taken had been vandalised.

 

It was replaced with a clear glass window.

 

Subsequently it was decided to repair it and use it to replace a badly damaged plain window in the Sacristy.

The Good Samaritan windows in the Chancel.

 

These were considered too badly deteriorated and poorly repair in past to be worth saving.

 

They were removed and replaced with plain, leaded windows, which have brightened the Chancel considerably.

A newly commissioned plain leaded window in the North nave fitted March 2014.

 

This was to replace the old, dirty, plain window (below).  

 

 

Although the windows project has taken longer than expected, it is nearing completion and we extend our thanks to:

 

Chris Chesney and his team at Iona Glass Art, Alnwick.

Ian Ness, our architect.

Durham Diocesan Advisory Committee

and everyone who has contributed to, or otherwise supported the project.

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