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The life and miracles of a northern saint

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York Minster’s St Cuthbert Window is one of the largest surviving narrative windows in Europe.

Located in the cathedral’s South Quire Transept, it tells the story of the life and miracles of one of Northern England’s most significant saints. It is thought to date from c.1440 and is the only surviving whole stained glass window dedicated to the life of the saint.

Three great medieval windows

It is one of three great windows in the cathedral’s East End, which include the St William Window (c.1415) and the Great East Window (completed in 1408), both of which have undergone major conservation and restoration projects in the last two decades years.

Now, after centuries of exposure to the elements, the stonework of the St Cuthbert Window and the wider South Quire Transept needs urgent work to replace and repair eroded and decaying masonry.

To allow the work to take place, all 154 panels of stained glass must be removed from the St Cuthbert Window, allowing painstaking cleaning and repair work to be undertaken by conservators at York Glaziers Trust.

State-of-the-art protection

Once the stained glass has been repaired, it will be returned to the window with state-of-the-art protective glazing, replacing external diamond quarry glazing installed in the 1930s and providing a barrier between the elements and medieval stained glass.

The glass work is part of a wider 20-year partnership project between York Minster and York Glaziers Trust to install internally-ventilated protective glazing to the cathedral’s windows, which comprise the largest and most diverse collection of medieval stained glass in the country.

The work to the St Cuthbert Window stained glass is due to start in 2021, and will take around three years to complete. A fundraising campaign to support the work is due to launch in late 2020.

The life of St Cuthbert

St Cuthbert was an Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop of Lindisfarne, who lived between c.634 and 687 and was renowned for his good works and miracles.

Although his shrine was originally located on Lindisfarne, when the monks who lived there fled Viking attacks in the ninth century they carried St Cuthbert with them in his coffin and eventually settled at Durham, where his shrine can still be visited.

The window was gifted to the Minster by Thomas Langley (d.1437), Bishop of Durham, and a former Dean of York.

You can see the St Cuthbert Window in detail and learn about the stories its stained glass tells via a new resource developed by York Glaziers Trust. Click here to learn more and explore the window.

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