Stained Glass

Stained Glass

Stained glass has been a feature of many buildings for centuries in Britain. For example, if you hear the word “church” it is possible that the image that springs immediately to mind is an imposing stone building, with a spire and large stained glass windows sparkling with different colours.
It is hard to be specific about when stained glass was first used in windows, however it is clear that coloured glass has fascinated people for millennia. The ancient Egyptians and Romans, for example, valued items made of coloured glass. Archaeologists have found domestic items like jugs and cups made from coloured glass. It is likely that these were a sign of wealth and status.
At some point during the Middle Ages, stained glass became a popular choice for church windows in continental Europe. By the year 1000AD, new churches in the style known as ‘Gothic’ were being built with large decorate windows that featured pieces of stained glass. It soon became apparent that this could be used to tell a story. Many stained glass windows featured Biblical accounts, or the lives of saints or of historically significant events. This was about more than just decoration. The Bible in this period was in Latin, a language which few people could read. In some rural communities, it was even claimed that the village priest could not read Latin. The stained glass windows were an ideal way of teaching the lessons that the priest wanted to transmit to his parishioners.
Stained glass in Britain became less popular during the Reformation under Henry VIII. During this time, stained glass windows in many churches and even some homes were smashed, since they were seen to be a sign of Catholicism, in a period when the Church of England was developing a Protestant identity. This break in the British tradition of stained glass lasted from the mid-sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century. In the early 1800s, a revival of Gothic style architecture brought with it a revival of the use of stained glass. This was not only for churches. Many municipal buildings like town halls, as well as larger private homes, were built with stained glass windows as a sign of prestige.
With the revival of stained glass, techniques for creating stained glass windows were again developed, resulting in the creation of new designs and styles. Whilst some more modern stained glass still shows the style of early Gothic imagery, many stained glass designs utilise newer materials and styles, including stained glass that does not require lead and stained glass that features Art Nouveau styles.
In modern Britain, stained glass remains a popular choice for religious buildings, municipal sites or commercial buildings. Benyon Stained Glass are the specialists who can create new stained glass windows for your property, or work to restore older stained glass windows.
You can find more information on the website, including past projects and several galleries that showcase work that the team has completed. For more information, including all enquiries about stained glass projects, contact Benyon Stained Glass today.



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