All Saints, Otley / by Heather Sutton

In 1852, parishioners at the 800-year old All Saints’ Parish Church in Otley raised £150 for a stained glass window behind the altar. Since then the years had taken their toll and a full-scale restoration project was mounted to save it from further deterioration though this time the cost was considerably higher at more than £60,000.

Maysand was called in to manage the project and brought in window conservation and stained glass specialist Martin Johnson & Co from York.

Over 25 weeks, during which the team also carried out roof and masonry repairs to the grade I-listed church, Maysand craftsmen managed the restoration of the all-important stained glass, east window.

“It was a very delicate operation. Firstly we set up scaffolding either side of the window so that the specialists from Martin Johnson could remove the Stained glass panels,” explains Maysand’s Bryn Lisle.

“Then we used steel needles horizontally between the two scaffolds to support the tracery before removing the mullions, taking accurate profiles of them and commissioning new ones at Dunhouse Quarry where the template and carving process alone took 8-weeks.”

Once Maysand had removed the temporary protection and fitted the new mullions, Martin Johnson’s team were able to reinstate the restored glass panels. Eleanor Carr was the glass painter on the Otley project. She explains: “Back at the workshop we took rubbings of the panels, and photographed and measured everything before removing all the lead work. It was a particularly interesting piece because it was made by Pilkington Glass who had quite a small studio at the time so examples of its work are quite rare.

Although we do try to keep originals where possible we did have to replace some pieces which were badly damaged or had been poorly repaired over the years. Each new painted glass was signed and dated on the back because that helps to create a history of the window for future generations.”

The panels were releaded and replaced in the church within an isothermal glazing system to strengthen and protect the glass art. The results are visible for all to see.