Abbot’s Hospital, Guildford

17th and 18th Century

Abbot’s Hospital Chapel, Guildford, Surrey.

Condition survey, and conservation works including the partial removal and conservation of the East Window, in-situ cleaning of the south elevation window, and environmental monitoring carried out by Tobit Curteis Associates.

Abbot’s Hospital, formerly known as The Hospital of the Blessed Trinity, was founded in 1619 by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury.  This impressive Jacobean set of buildings are similar in design to the Oxford Colleges; with entrance porch, courtyard, and chapel. It was George Abbot’s gift to Guildford, the place of his birth, and is now Grade 1 listed.  George Abbot commissioned the glazing of the East Window in the chapel in 1621.  The glass is by Baptista Sutton (1600-1667), a fascinating English glass painter and enameller, influenced by European contemporaries.   The glass depicts the story of Jacob & Esau.

George Abbot, in commissioning the design and production of these windows, with strongly figurative style, anticipated the short lived trend that was to become the Laudian Revival – a brief re-emergence and period of interest in figurative religious images, largely overseen by Abbot’s successor, Archbishop Laud.  There was evidence of internal condensation settling regularly upon the valuable stained glass in the chapel, which could prove detrimental if left unchecked. To investigate this, an environmental survey and monitoring of the chapel was carried out by Tobit Curteis Associates, over a 1 year period.  This data was assessed to determine how internal conditions were affecting the stained glass, how it could be improved, and how beneficial a new Environmental Protective Glazing system would be. The conclusion was that the present conditions are relatively benign, and that protective glazing was  not necessary in this case.