The great east window is one of the largest areas of medieval stained glass in the world, its measurements close to those of a tennis court. The window was built by glazier John Thornton between 1405-08 and cost £58, paid by the then Bishop of Durham, Walter Skirlaw whose generosity can be appreciated when one remembers that in 1400 a pair of boots would have cost the equivalent of 1 pence.
In the top tracery light God the Father, Alpha and Omega presides over a rank of saints and angels. Below the tracery are 117 panels in rows of nine, illustrating various Biblical scenes.
Because of its vast area, the window is supported by extra stonework which forms an internal screen. Within this are two walkways across the face of the window. From the higher of these the choir sang during the service of re-dedication following the last cleaning of the window. This restoration took ten years to complete.
Return to the East End
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