Great Witley Church, Worcestershire: Joshua Price

17th and 18th Century

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Great Witley, Worcestershire

Condition survey, conservation work and test installation of externally ventilated protective glazing to window sIV.

The spectacular and richly decorated Baroque church at Great Witley, survived the catastrophic fire which destroyed the adjacent Witley Court in 1937.  The magnificent scheme of windows by Joshua Price and later his son, William Price the Younger, dating from around 1719, were purchased from Canons: the London mansion of the Duke of Chandos, along with the ceiling paintings, in 1748.  The Great Witley windows are a nationally important example of the enamelled glass tradition of the 18th century.

During assessment of the glass at Great Witley church two panels at the bottom of window sIV gave cause for concern.  Every piece of glass within the panels had been broken in recent years as a result of severe vandal damage, and previous attempts at repairing the broken glass had failed. Bowing severely and structurally weak, the panels were removed to the workshop for dismantling, edge-bond repairs, and re-leading.  A test section of externally ventilated environmental protective glazing was installed to window sIV, over a 1 year period, and monitored to test the efficacy of the system as a means of protecting the historic glass from cycles of wetting condensation, and to isolate vulnerable glass and enamel from wind-flex and heat expansion. This proved very successful; it is proposed that it be adopted for all of the enamelled glass in the church.