Recclesia

Having suffered significant structural movement and being on the verge of collapse, Recclesia was appointed to replace the East window entirely in new masonry and conserve the Herbert Bryans stained glass at the same time.

  • Client The PCC
  • Architect Arrol & Snell
  • Status Grade II

The Full Story

Having suffered significant structural movement and being on the verge of collapse, Recclesia was appointed to replace the East window entirely in new masonry, whilst also being tasked with the highly delicate task of removing the stained glass from the crumbling masonry.

Following a process of recording and templating the existing East window, work began with the removal of the stained glass. This was no easy task, as the tracery window was quite literally on the point of collapse. The entire gable end had leaned East and twisted North, meaning that the glass was being crushed by both the failing masonry and the structural movement. For safety, the entire gable was shored and propped to an engineer’s detail.

Nothing was known about the stained glass, so once it was back at the studio the conservators carried out research to establish the maker. It was discovered that the window was by Bryans, a student of CE Kempe, and that there was a discreet maker’s mark that had gone unnoticed for years. The window had been vandalised in the past and several sections of the crucifixion scene had to be carefully put back together piece by piece using advanced edge-bonding techniques. The window was also fully releaded.

Whilst the glass underwent studio treatment, the time expired tracery window was removed from the gable end. Recclesia produced 1:1 CAD workshop drawings and templates of the old window for production of a new window to match the existing. Each section was carved out of stone from Woodkirk quarries in Leeds, which offered a very similar stone to that which the original window had been made out of. The installation of the new masonry window was followed by the reinstatement of the glass.

The contract also included the conservation and repair of the West window glass and masonry, repairs to copings, repointing, leadwork and internal limewashing.