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Former York students conserve medieval stained glass

Posted on 24 September 2021

Two former University of York students are among a team of experts conserving some of the city’s finest stained glass windows.

Painting stained glass windowsThe 'Corporal Acts of Mercy window' (pictured) is one of twelve windows to be conserved and protected. Credit: Barley Studio.

Former MA students Keith Barley and Alison Gilchrist are taking part in the three-year project to restore a series of stained glass windows at All Saints Church, North Street.

The project - funded by the National Lottery Fund - sees conservators, artists, and craftspeople from Barley Studio work on the grade I-listed building.

Hidden treasures

The church has been a site for worship since Norman times, and contains medieval glass recognised as among the most important collections in the British Isles and one of York’s hidden treasures.

Dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, all twelve windows containing medieval glass will be conserved and protected by the team.

The project began in October 2020, with two windows already conserved and reinstalled. The project is due to be completed in March 2023.


Mr Barley, who is also Master Glazier for Ely Cathedral, was awarded an MBE in 2015 'for services to cultural restoration and conservation'. He was recognised in particular for his work at St Mary’s Church, Fairford, which was the subject of his MA in stained glass conservation awarded by the University of York in 2017.

Alison was a member of the very first cohort of students on the MA in stained glass conservation and heritage management, graduating with distinction in 2010.

Mr Barley added: “It is an absolute privilege to work on these wonderful windows, all the more so as they are right on our doorstep! I’m just delighted that they can be protected so that they can be works of art rather than for keeping the weather out.”

Those interested can visit the All Saints Church to learn more about the project.

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