Ancient Stained Glass Returns to Conwy

Five ancient stained glass window panels have gone on display in a church near Colwyn Bay after being conserved by Recclesia Stained Glass thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Fragments of five windows, dating back to the fifteenth century were found wrapped in blankets under the pulpit at St Cystennin’s Church, in Llangystennin near Mochdre and sent to Llandudno Museum for safe-keeping. Now after fund-raising by church volunteers the windows have been fully conserved and put on display in the church in a glass and oak display cabinet. The panels depict St George slaying the dragon, St Nicholas, St Catherine, St Peter and the Resurrection of Christ.

A grant of £9,400 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the church contributing a further £1,000. St Cystennin’s Church Treasurer, Margaret Hodgkiss oversaw the project. She said: “I am delighted that we have been able to conserve this piece of our heritage and return it to the Church. These are priceless fragments of our history which would have had pride of place, telling the Christian story, throughout the medieval period. These windows pre-date the Church itself, which was re-built in 1843 but we know there’s been a site of Christian worship here since 338AD.”

Recclesia, specialists in historic building and glass conservation, painstakingly repaired and conserved the fragments of glass over several months. Katherine Walton led the team of five glass conservators.  She said: “It’s taken about five months to return these glass panels to something approaching their former glory. There are still some missing sections but the detail in the glass work and painting is fabulous.”

Jamie Moore, the Managing Director of Recclesia, said: “We were delighted to be contracted to carry out this conservation work. These are excellent examples of medieval stained glass, yet in some ways they are different from other local windows and are therefore of huge significance. The style of artwork depicting the horse of St George is similar to stained glass in Norfolk and the haloes around the heads of the saints, are different to other local depictions.

“It’s thought also that there could be a sixth panel showing the Archangel Michael with the Virgin Mary, weighing souls but so far no fragments have been found.”

North Wales has a large collection of medieval stained glass, with churches in Denbighshire and Flintshire, holding excellent examples. It’s thought the region’s distance from London helped it avoid the smashing of stained glass windows and other forms of iconography during the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century.