Church windows restoration 10 years ago was like ‘friends coming home’

Stained glass windows at Pagham parish church were restored ten years ago, to the delight of worshippers.

The six works of art were in place for the Sunday services on February 13, 2011, at St Thomas a’Becket Church.

Church historian Sandy Sell, who had been a member of the congregation for 40 years at the time, told the Observer: “The windows are just so beautiful. It’s fantastic to see them back. It’s like old friends coming home. People will be amazed to see them.”

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The £10,000 campaign to return the windows to their original condition took two years of fundraising, through the church coffers and the efforts of the Friends of Pagham Parish Church.

Restorer Vincent Groves applying the finishing touches to St George, one of six stained glass panels to be restored ten years ago Picture: Louise Adams C110248-1

The windows, which measure 75in high by 17in wide, were originally installed after the First World War.

The set of three in the south transept were created by Edward Fellowes Prynne. He was the brother of George Fellowes Prynne, who designed St Wilfrid’s Church in Bognor Regis.

His son Norman went to Holyrood School, in Victoria Drive, along with John Mathews, to whom the windows are dedicated, after he died in an explosion in 1917. These windows depict St Michael, Jesus and St George.

The north transept windows are dedicated to Carl Herbert Hartmann. His father came from Bremen in Germany in the 1870s and soon made his fortune as a merchant.

Carl went to Charterhouse School in Surrey and became an architect. He changed his name to Charles and joined the Artists’ Rifles to fight in the First World War.

He transferred to the Royal West Kent Regiment and travelled with it to France on June 25, 1918. He was killed on July 2. His windows depict the Angel Gabriel, Mary and Jesus, and Raphael.

The windows, along with all the others, were removed from the church during the Second World War. They were returned with a plastic sheet, which had caused condensation over the decades and the panels in the windows had also become bowed.

The windows were removed in September 2010 for restoration by Robert Halloway, of Chapel Studios. He re-leaded them, replaced some cracked panes and cleaned the others.