The Full Story
The East Window at St. Beuno's Church in Berriew, Welshpool is a well known example of the wonderful Victorian studio of John Hardman, one of the most prolific and most respected stained glass producers of the 1800s. The studio was established in 1838 and only closed quite recently in 2008. Examples of the studio's work can be found in the UK Houses of Parliament and in countries across the world.
The window was identified as being in quite urgent need of repair by the architect and the church, but this was made critical by a storm which left the window quite literally blowing in the wind. Never have we worked upon a window so close to being lost altogether!
The principal issue lay in the failure of the leadwork structure or matrix which had caused significant outward movement in what were very large panels of glass. The ties had pulled away from the internal metalwork and were completely detatched, leaving the glass unsupported across its plane. The stormforce gales caused the glass to very quickly work its way out of the masonry rebates, breaking the pointing and leaving the middle panel of the central lancet flapping precariously in the wind.
Following it's removal, the window was examined and the lead matrix stripped away from the glass. New lead came was milled to match the original in size and shape, and each section was re-built, retaining all of the original glass.
Each individual section of glass was cleaned by hand using rolled cotton wool and pure water to gently remove surface detritus. Severely broken and cracked painted sections of glass were all retained and put back together using a combination of reversible edge-bonding techniques. All of the original glass was saved using this approach. Some of the supporting internal armature was replaced in stainless steel and protective guards were installed to the external face once the window was reinstated.