REFURBISHMENT PROJECT 2023
A major refurbishment of Lound’s church windows began just after Easter this year. Our 2019 QIR indicated that all the iron ferramenta needed overhauling as they were rusty and damaging the stonework. They have actually been in that state for at least 30 years but until now, funds have not permitted repair.
A full report from stained glass specialists Devlin Plummer of Long Stratton revealed that most of the windows were in a dire state of neglect and disrepair, with sagging leadwork, ingress of water, and general staining and dirt. The casements were rusty, and either jammed shut, or unable to be properly closed. Some of the windows, and in particular the Henry Holiday stained glass window on the south side of the chancel were extremely fragile, and at risk of total inward collapse.
It was decided to tackle this window first, together with the stained glass quatrefoils from the tops of four of the nave windows. One vestry window needed work – the rusty casement to be removed and replaced with very fine mesh air vents to match the window on the other side of the vestry.
The two porch windows, which were visibly bowed and vulnerable to collapse were also to be worked on.
We were advised that all seven windows in the nave should be replaced with new ones made up from scratch with clear Schott glass, instead of the existing semi-opaque Victorian ‘cathedral glass’, which was certainly not original to the building, and made it rather dark.
The chancel, vestry and porch windows, together with the four quatrefoils were removed and boarded up. We learned that one of the panels of the Henry Holiday window actually collapsed as it was taken down, so the decision to do this work came none too soon!
As soon as work commenced on the Henry Holiday, Devlin Plummer discovered huge problems. It transpired that many of the panes were double – two separate pieces of glass, possibly done as a cheap way of obtaining greater colour depth without additional painting. Each pane had to be taken out, cleaned, and the two pieces individually bonded to make them secure and insect-proof – very time consuming and very labour intensive. In addition the new lead-work has to accommodate several different thicknesses of glass in different places. The work involved on this one window was extremely detailed and painstaking. Every pane was numbered and labelled, laid out on the drawing made on the workbench.
In the workshop
By the middle of May, some of the work was completed and the windows ready to be returned to their places – the two porch windows, two of the stained glass quatrefoils, and the vestry. Over several days an astonishing improvement became apparent, and revealed work finished to the highest of standards.
Working on the porch…………….
………….and on the vestry
In the nave……………..
Quatrefoils from the south side of the nave
Perhaps the most exciting part of all the work involved is that on the Henry Holiday window, which was put back in place at the beginning of June. The team from Devlin Plummer worked on this complex and intricate operation – measuring, placing and drilling for the new saddlebars to go in, fixing each panel and pointing round. The detailed application of expert skills was utterly fascinating to watch, and also very accommodating to the photographer!
The difference between ‘before’ and ‘after’ really has to be seen to be believed. Pictures of some of the panels on the ground simply don’t prepare the viewer for the glorious colour revealed when the window is in place and the light floods through it. The details which can now be seen in the illustration of Simeon and Anna in the Temple, and the wording of Nunc Dimittis is quite stunning. It makes the comparable window on the north side of the chancel look really dull and dirty!
Working on the Henry Holiday window
We are immensely grateful to both SUFFOLK HISTORIC CHURCHES TRUST and the ROUND TOWER CHURCHES SOCIETY who have both helped us with grants towards the cost of the windows project.