Church gets stained glass double glazing

ONE of Suffolk's most famous churches has revealed plans to protect its famous 15th Century stained glass windows - by installing double glazing.

Russell Claydon

ONE of Suffolk's most famous churches has revealed plans to protect its famous 15th Century stained glass windows - by installing double glazing.

The �250,000 conservation scheme comes after tests showed moisture and ultra violet light has deteriorated the medieval coloured glass at Holy Trinity Church in Long Melford.

It is thought if nothing is done to preserve the windows - which are one of the main attractions for visitors - they could be lost for future generations.

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Experimental work using Isothermal double-glazing has already taken place on one of the windows.

Sensors were put on the glass over the course of a year with the results analysed in a specialist laboratory in Germany.

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They showed using the technology would help stop wear and tear from the atmosphere, which has caused visible damage on the surface of the glass.

The church now has to convince a number of bodies to allow it to begin installing the double glazing on the eight remaining windows at a cost of �33,000 each.

They include the scene known as “The Duchess” which is thought to have been the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's timeless classic Alice In Wonderland.

Patrick Kohler, the chairman of the Friends of Long Melford Church Building Trust, said: “The glass is a very precious asset to the church and indeed the whole area.

“Great care is being taken to ensure it is available for future generations to enjoy as much as we have been able to.”

Only eight of the original stain glass windows put up by the Clopton family between 1467 and 1484 remain after much of it was destroyed by an invasion of the Puritans in 1641.

They have been moved around the church a few times since after it was feared the biggest threat to them was damage by ultra-violet light, culminating in their current north facing position.

David Hamand, church warden at Holy Trinity, who went to Germany to discuss the results of the experiment, said: “There are still a number of hurdles to be crossed before anything further can take place, so it is not just a question of money.”

He added the technology was quite complex but has been proven to work and has been used in other churches around the world.

Lunchtime recitals held by the Melford Music group are being held to raise donations for the restoration work and to provide a platform for talented local musicians.

They are held in the church every Wednesday from 1.10pm to 1.40pm and crowds have recently been averaging more than 80 people.

Details of up coming performances are on the village website or, alternatively, by phoning Jilly Cooper from Melford Music on 01787 281836.

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