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Students to design stained glass window stand in for historic glass at St Mary’s Church Shrewsbury

Heritage students at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) conducted a research day with the Churches Conservation Trust at St Mary’s Church Shrewsbury on June 1.

This research focuses on the history of St Mary’s unique collection of Medieval stained-glass windows and will begin a project to understand the glass and how the building is interpreted to the public in 2023 and 2024. The research day on June 1 will be followed by a community project to interpret the windows and evaluation work taking place on site in June and July. 

St Mary’s Church was affected by heritage crime during the COVID-19 lockdown when two panels of historic stained-glass were damaged. The restoration of these panels is part of a project to support and engage the public to understand the conservation of the glass called ‘The Past, Present and Future of St Mary’s Stained Glass’ carried out by the Churches Conservation Trust, who have secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The MSc Museums and Heritage Practice students, who study with the University of Chester at UCS, will use information from their research day to engage the wider community and create stained-glass designs that will be displayed in the church whilst the conservation work is started. They will also contribute to evaluation of heritage interpretation at the site.  

Dr Morn Capper, the Heritage Lecturer at the University of Chester leading the project explained: “St Mary’s as a building has been at the heart of Shrewsbury since the Anglo-Saxon period. The medieval church building also holds a remarkable collection of medieval stained-glass, both of local designs and some that has travelled from far off European churches and Cathedrals in Germany and the Netherlands.

“Too many historic churches are affected by Heritage Crime. When windows at St Mary’s were smashed, I knew we had to support St Mary’s efforts to conserve them for the future. Students contributing to this research will enhance their heritage skills, but will also learn from heritage professionals and see the important work that Churches Conservation Trust and their volunteers do daily.”

Mark Sproat, Interim Head of Region (North), for CCT said:

“The Churches Conservation Trust is happy to be working closely with MSc students from University Centre Shrewsbury and welcomes their fresh insight on interpretation and research. St Mary’s Church in Shrewsbury has a long history stretching back around 1,000 years with many impressive architectural and archaeological features. We hope the students enjoy learning about the church and its collections, and we are looking forward to using their research to better inform our understanding of the building.”

 Professor Paul Johnson, Head of University Centre Shrewsbury, said:

“New designs inspired by the stained glass windows have been created by the students and members of the community and will be on show at St Mary’s Stained Glass Festival, 1st-31st August. Students will contribute to different aspects of the project during 2023 and 2024.”

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