Over Christmas the two leaded windows in the chancel of St Helen’s Church have been completed.
The fifteenth century east window
The fifteenth century east end window now has its new diamond panes in place and the recreation of the Tudor stained glass window to the south is also finished. The original Tudor window had long since been destroyed by the time that Beamish acquired the church, but records detailed that it depicted an image of St Helen; the mother of the first Christian Rome Emperor, Constantine, and the believed discoverer of the true cross. The design of the recreated window was based on other contemporary images of the saint and has been made by hand by a local glazier. The Latin inscription at the top of the window reads ‘For the people of St Helen’s Church in the year 2014’.
The recreated Tudor stained glass window in the chancel.
The reclaimed panelling that will be used on the front of the church’s gallery.
The work on St Helen’s Church is continuing. Yesterday, a section of panelling arrived, which has been reclaimed from a chapel in Butterknowle, County Durham. This panelling is remarkable similar to that which originally made up the front of the gallery at St Helen’s and will be used as in its place. In the afternoon we also received a very exciting delivery of cylinder glass (an early method of producing sheet glass), which will be used to glaze the replica Georgian lancet windows in the nave.
Shaun and Dan unpacking yesterday’s delivery of cylinder glass.
As well as glazing the windows in the nave, our local specialist glazier Barry Swinburne, will also be working on the two much older windows in the chancel.
The view from the church’s gallery. The replica Georgian lancet windows are visible to the side, and the 15th tracery window at the end of the chancel.
The first is a lovely 15th century tracery window which sits behind the site of the altar on the east end of the church. This will be glazed with leaded glass in a diamond pattern, as was typical of the date. The second window was reputedly inserted into the south wall of the chancel by the Tudors. There is no record of what this window looked like, other than that it was a stained glass window that depicted an image of St Helen. Using research done by John into other 16th century windows that showed the saint, Clara has created a design that will be used by Barry to recreate the window using traditional methods. The window design includes a small homage to the Reverend Peck, our resident owl.
Clara’s design for the recreated Tudor stained glass window at St Helen’s.
Additionally, the two bells that will be installed into St Helen’s tower are being sent away this week to be restored by our heritage blacksmith, Andy Basnett. Before the 17th century tower was added, the church had a small medieval belfry with a single bell. Subsequently, another bell was installed into the tower as part of the church’s Georgian refurbishment. We have collected two bells, one which dates from 1598 and another from 1778, to represent St Helen’s originals. Eventually these will be hung in the belfry to be rung for special events at the church.
The belfry at St Helen’s.