Stained glass windows of 'Georgian gem' Lancaster church return to former glory

Work is being completed to restore the windows at St John The Evangelist Church in North Road, which closed to the public after it flooded in 2015.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 3:45 pm

The church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, which has employed Bolton based company Design Bright to restore the windows and their damaged frames.

Peter Wiltshire, a member of Lancaster Vision, and Vice Chair of Lancaster Civic Society, said: "I was overjoyed to see that work is in progress to restore the windows in the church of St John The Evangelist.

This is Lancaster’s Georgian Gem, dating from 1745 and is Grade 11* listed.

Work in progress on the windows at St John's Church, Lancaster - Photo Peter Wiltshire.

"The design resembles several London churches which were designed by famous architects such as Wren and Hawksmoor.

"It is believed to have been designed by Henry Sephton, a Liverpool architect.

"The tower and spire were added later to a design by Thomas Harrison, the architect of Skerton Bridge and the Shire Hall.

The church has not been open to the public since it was damaged by flood water during Storm Desmond in December 2015.

Buried font at St John's Lancaster - photo by Peter Wiltshire.

It has suffered from timber decay, mainly in the roof and the window frames.

The building is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, which launched an appeal in 2018 to save the church.The window frames along the North Road frontage have now been repaired and the stained glass re-installed.

At the eastern end of the church a completely new frame has been fitted and the window re leaded and soldered.

Peter Wiltshire added: "The stained glass work is being undertaken by Mr Dennis Eckersley whose company Design Bright is based in Bolton.

One of the restored windows at St John's Church, Lancaster – photo Peter Wiltshire.

"Mr Eckersley, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of church buildings spoke enthusiastically about St John’s, and pointed out several unique features including the remains of an ancient font partially buried in the churchyard, this apparently was sometimes a custom when a new font was installed.

"A big thanks to the Churches Conservation Trust, the carpenters who have repaired the frames and Mr Eckersley and his team for the stained glass restoration."

It is to be hoped that a lasting and sustainable use can be found for this building so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come."

Lancaster Vision is a sub-group of Lancaster Civic Society, which donated £4,000 to St John’s Church, Lancaster to assist in future restoration work such as these windows.