Rosette Design

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    The ongoing tragedy of English Martyrs church in Hillmorton, formerly home to one of the largest schemes of dalle de verre glazing in the country and now shorn of it's coloured glass, which is to be replaced by double glazing.

    Three of the four major abstract windows, by noted artist Leonard Jonah Jones, were removed in late 2011 following the deterioration of some sections of the glazing on the south and mainly west sides. Individual chunks of glass had fallen, largely due to thermal expansion and contraction and the smooth edges of the glass (instead of the more usual knapped edges) being less secure. The fourth window remains in place but is likely to be removed in the next week.

    The major problem however was compression distortion in certain areas (principally the west side) caused by the accumulated weight of the panels and the inadequacy of the concrete transoms to support them (these were poorly bonded to the building and thus were the main cause of failure), the church remains closed since one of these concrete beams fell out in April 2010, sending the panel above it crashing to the ground.

    There were those who wanted to see the windows retained and the defective areas restored, but there were no cheap options, and sadly a rather more brutal alternative was favoured by the majority of the decision makers in the parish, and this major piece of 20th century church art has been lost as a result.

    As someone who has known and loved these windows all my life I find the situation heartbreaking. However many are rather less sentimental about the glass, some to the point of welcoming the opportunity to remove it, and to make matters worse my position on the 'wrong side' of the window debate seems to have made me deeply unpopular amongst the more influential people in the parish; having been told my input was unwelcome, I can't help feeling that way generally.

    Here the removed panels, many broken into pieces the process, are seen as they were left lying in the churchyard where they remained for some time, but have now been moved. I still cling to the hope that all the elements can be kept together and stored, possibly for some form of eventual reuse somewhere. If anyone has space for indefinite storage for 76 panels of assorted sizes (many in smaller pieces) of dalle de verre glazing I'd love to know!

    For more on the artist see below

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