James Newton


Restoring the Light 04.15

The restoration of the Herkenrode glass windows has recently been completed at Lichfield Cathedral.  This seven year project was undertaken as part of a complete restoration of the East End of the building, the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.  Over the course of the project I have managed to make several visits in order to photograph the project in its various stages.

A significant part of this work has been the removal, conservation and re-installation of the famous Herkenrode Glass.  The glass is considered to be one of Europe’s greatest artistic treasures, and was installed in Lichfield in 1803 when it was rescued from destruction during the French revolutionary wars.  Having withstood centuries of weather and pollution, emergency action was needed to rescue it once again and the race began to save the Lady Chapel and its priceless Renaissance glass.  The glass was removed in 2010 and taken to Barley Studio where the five-year renovation project commenced.

The whole project comprised renewing and repairing stonework in the South and North Choir aisles, replacing some of  the external stonework of the Lady Chapel, removing the Herkenrode glass to safe storage, installing clear isothermal glazing, the conservation and re-installation of  the glass, the renewal of fabrics.

The glass came from the Abbey of Herkenrode (now in Belgium) in 1801 having been purchased by Brooke Boothby when that abbey was dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars.  It originally dates from the 1530s.  The conservation work was undertaken by Barley Studio in York.

With thanks to Lichfield Cathedral for the access and some of the text for this post.