This fine window behind the altar was restored in 2013. Unlike many stained glass windows which depict biblical scenes to educate a largely illiterate populace, and were often commissioned by noblemen, the Swannington window is an exception.
The Quinquennial Inspection of 2010 identified the window as being at risk, and listed it for urgent repair. Grants were required to fund the work, accompanied by a glass conservator’s report. Earlier theories (notably in the Revd. Wortley’s history of Swannington) had stated that the window was painted in 1848, and installed by Mr Edmund Bartell of Swannington Manor. However Canon Jeremy Haselock, the Diocesan Advisory Committee’s stained glass expert, had a different and perhaps more accurate theory as follows: The window dates from the Victorian era when ‘gothick’ art and the romantic movement were greatly in vogue. Houses of the time exhibit examples of pseudo medieval stained glass.
A Norwich merchant, J C Hampp imported stained glass from the Continent (much of it removed from abandoned churches and chapels following the French Revolution). A Norwich glazier, Samuel Carter Yarington made and installed a large number of stained glass windows in Norfolk churches. Canon Haselock feels that the east window should be seen in this context.
He states that ‘the window contained continental fragments of varying quality, plus some plain coloured glass and glass specially painted by Yarington and his associate Zobel by way of borders and framing for the panels. This places the window in the dating bracket of 1820-1846’.
We are grateful to churchwarden Antoinette Watts for her work in obtaining grants and overseeing the restoration work carried out by Ian Pocklington and Bruce Riley in the coldest spring for 50 years, when the weather was too cold for the lime mortar to set.
The window was dedicated at a service in June 2013, attended by a descendant of the Bartell family.