Window cleaning

29th June 2015

News, Alumni news

As more scaffolding goes up in Wadham chapel, in preparation for the cleaning and repair of the stained glass in the East window, and the temporary removal of the chapel organ reveals ‘hidden’ windows, we take a brief look of the history of some of the chapel windows.

  • Detail, East window

    Detail, East window

According to Wadham archivist, Cliff Davies, “The East window, along with the slightly earlier ones on the side walls, was one of the first installed in a church after the Reformation, representing a controversial return to ‘high church’ practices at the time.”

The College History adds “Dorothy Wadham was therefore being daringly up to date (or firmly reactionary, according to viewpoint) in her insistence on the representation of David and the prophets, and of Christ and the Apostles ‘that it may a little make shew for what purpose that place was appointed.”

The East window was completed by Bernard Van Linge in 1622. The stained glass is of the highest quality, using what were then advanced painting techniques with translucent vitreous enamels. Interestingly the contract with Van Linge required him to paint and anneal the glass in a kiln provided by the College. The iconography of the East Window is based on engraved illustrations by Hieronymus Wierix (after Martin de Vos), in Adnotationes et meditations in evangelia by Hieronymous Natalis, that was printed in 1595.  A copy of this book is held within the Wadham library.

The East window was completed at a cost of £113.17s.5d which was paid by Sir John Strangways,   Nicholas Wadham’s nephew, who according to Cliff “seems to have been the only Wadham relative not to resent the foundation of the college.”  Strangways, 40 years on, is the sitting gentleman in the large portrait behind High Table.

The ante-chapel windows, usually hidden by the organ, date from 1837-40 and are by ‘Evans of Shrewsury,’ and are in particularly good condition. The restoration of the organ has meant that we were able to gain access to the windows to take the photos shown – an opportunity that is unlikely to recur before the next century.  

The York Glaziers Trust is undertaking the conservation work on the East window.  Estates and Facilities Manager, Christopher Daw commented: “The Trust has built its reputation on the care and conservation of historic stained glass, in particular that at York Minster. They will apply this wealth of knowledge and experience to the problems with the East window. A team from the Trust will be on site for five weeks, commencing 22 June 2015.

  • Ante-chapel windows (usually behind the organ)

    Ante-chapel windows (usually behind the organ)

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