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Tracery glass

During the closing address of the 'Archaeology of the Reformation' conference, in February 2001, the distinguished church archaeologist Warwick Rodwell suggested a possible reason why medieval glass is often found in the top of medieval windows, hidden in the tracery.

He suggested that these small openings let through so little light that it was easier to whitewash them, or board them up, or even brick or plaster them up, than to remove the glass and cut new plain glass to shape.

I am not sure how hypothesis can be tested. In support of it, Warwick Rodwell noted that eighteenth century views of churches often show the tracery lights blocked off.

At Trumpington (Journal entry 148), and elsewhere, we know that the the bishop gave order in 1639 to 'unstop' some windows. Might they have been bricked up a hundred years earlier,with the glass still in place?

I would be grateful for further thoughts on this. I can be contacted using the 'contact+comment' button to the left.


Trevor Cooper 22 February 2001


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