£70k bid to project Queen's Window at Sidmouth Parish Church completed
PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:00 27 March 2017
Sidmouth Parish Church leaders are celebrating the completion of a £70,000 project to safeguard a stained glass window gifted to the town by Queen Victoria.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was among the supporters of the restoration, ensuring the feature will continue to delight visitors for another 150 years.
The window was given to the church in 1866 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s visit as an eight-month-old baby and as a memorial to her father, the Duke of Kent, who died during that trip.
Churchwarden Professor Brian Golding said: “It was about a year ago that an inspection of the stonework showed rather a lot of daylight between the stone and the glass, indicating that deterioration of the stone had reached a critical point and that the glass itself might soon be at risk.
“With the help of the church architect, John Scott, a plan for replacing the stone was put together and permission was quickly received from the diocese. At the same time, a funding appeal was launched to raise the £70,000 needed.
“Thanks to the generosity of several trusts and many individuals, including Her Majesty the Queen, all but about £5,000 of that sum has been found. The church is particularly grateful to the trustees of the Keith Owen Fund, who gave £20,000, and the Sidmouth Decorative and Fine Arts Society, who gave £5,000.”
The rest of the church is built in Salcombe and Beer stone, but the window, designed by Henry Hughes of London, was made in Bath stone, so a modern quarry near Bath was found and the new stone was carved by stonemasons of Wells Cathedral.
The stained glass was sent for cleaning and re-leading to expert restorer Robert Tucker of Kingskerswell.
On the stone’s arrival, it was up to stonemason John Mayne and his nephew Jack to fit it. Given its weight, they needed a winch to lift the stone pieces to the right level, then millimetre precision to fit them into place, before Robert returned and sealed in the glass.
Mr Golding said: “Everyone who has looked closely at the result agrees that John, Robert and their colleagues have done a superb job.
“This is particularly evident close up where the crispness of the stone and the glorious colour of the windows are quite overwhelming.
“Hopefully their work will remain to delight visitors to Sidmouth for the next 150 years.”