Salisbury stained glass window removed from Cathedral after 145 years

A STAINED glass window at Salisbury Cathedral has been removed for repairs – around 150 years after it was installed.

The 19th century window is being replaced by a team led by head glazier and conservator, Sam Kelly.

Designed by Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and and craftsman William Morris, it features two huge figurative images called Angels Ministering and Angels Praising.

It was originally commissioned by Barbara Townsend, who lived in Cathedral Close, in memory of her brother who died in 1875 after contracting a terminal illness in India.

It cost her £80, equivalent to £15,320 in today’s money,

Picture: Finnbarr Webster.

Picture: Finnbarr Webster.

READ MORE: Queen attends concert at Salisbury Cathedral – days after King’s cancer news 

At first, the glass was not well received by the cathedral’s clergy, who cut short the duo’s design work. They were supposed to produce a series of windows.

Now, to move it, the restoration team carefully chipped away at the cement mortar holding the window in place and untied the copper ties holding it to the internal framework.

Sam Kelly said: “Despite their solid appearance, stained glass sections of this size can be fragile and it is always a relief to get them into the workshop.

“They are also incredibly heavy, around 40 kilograms per section, so moving each section down off the scaffolding is physically difficult.

“Once we get it onto the lightboxes in the workshop, we will be able to see the extent of the deterioration and what conservation is required.

“Exposure to the elements, especially condensation internally caused by ancient heaters in the cathedral, which have now been replaced, and water ingress have taken their toll.

“Painted details, especially on the faces and robes of the angels have faded over time, due to poor firing of the glass paint at the point of execution and the colours and patterns have been dulled by layers of accumulated dirt.”

Picture: Finnbarr Webster.

Picture: Finnbarr Webster.

READ MORE: PICTURES: Cathedral cloisters host Salisbury pancake races 

In addition to cleaning and repairing the leadwork, Sam’s team will create painted and fired backing glasses to replace lost detail, allowing the appearance to be reinstated without interfering with the original linework.

The restoration will cost an estimated £120,000, around half of which has been raised by private donations and a contribution by The Dulverton Trust.

To find out more about the project, or to pledge your support, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *