New Norwich home found for historic stained glass

A piece of medieval stained glass that was removed from a city church to allow structural repairs to be carried out has been moved to a temporary new home so it can be restored.

A panel of the Mariawald window, which includes glass brought from the continent in the 1600s, also contains some fragments of old medieval Norwich glass, has been installed at Hungate Medieval Art in Princes Street, Norwich.

The glass had to be taken out of the centuries old St Stephen's Church when it closed in September last year after a large crack appeared in its east wall.

The damage was caused by a nearby burst water main which had undermined the foundations and Anglian Water agreed to foot the bill for the repairs.

But when the stained glass window was removed to enable the repair work to be carried out it became clear restoration work was needed.

The panels will be on view at Hungate Medieval Art, one at a time for the next few months, while they undergo cleaning and conservation.

The first of the panels to be displayed is of St Christopher, and arrived at Hungate Medieval Art yesterday. The centre, which is based in the former St Peter Hungate church, held a celebratory tea party to celebrate the arrival of the glass.

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Alice Free, manager of the centre, said she was delighted to be able to have the glass on display. She said: 'This is a rare opportunity to study such magnificent stained glass up close with the help of a specially constructed light box.

'HMA are very excited to house the glass panels, and to help St Stephen's church in these difficult times.'

In the early nineteenth century Norwich became the centre of a trade in imported stained glass from the Continent. This was carried on by a German merchant living in Norwich called John Christopher Hampp together with William Stevenson, a local stationer.

The large amount of German glass they bought included five large panels which were installed in the east window of St Stephen's church. They come from the church of the Cistercian Abbey of Mariawald south-west of Cologne. It was founded in 1480 and the church begun in 1492. The windows of the choir were made by 1505 and those of the nave between 1513 and 1516.