‘Looking Both Ways’ in Embsay and Eastby wins HLF funding.

A major project at St Mary’s church, Embsay with Eastby, which combines a major restoration of its 150-year-old stained glass with a community heritage project is set to go ahead after a boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

‘Looking both ways will cost £47,000 and is being funded by local support as well as grants from charitable organisations.  The substantial grant, thanks to National Lottery players, via the Heritage Lottery Fund, completes the funding package so work can begin early in 2019.

The Revd Louise Taylor-Kenyon,  Vicar of St Mary’s, said, “We are really excited by this project and the major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will make it possible.

“St Mary’s was built 163 years ago and today plays an active part in the lives of the villages. There are two major stained-glass windows, the most significant being at the East end of the church. This was the work of Jean-Baptiste Capronnier who lived in Belgium between 1814 and 1891. His work is highly regarded and can be found in churches throughout Europe. His peak of fame came at the 1855 Paris Exhibition where he won the only medal to be given for glass-painting. The St Mary’s window was created in that period of his work.

“The Capronnier window and several others in the church have endured a century and a half of Yorkshire weather and are entitled to some skilled attention to ensure that they continue to be enjoyed by future generations,” adds Louise.

Looking Both Ways will have a strong community dimension.  Part of the project will feature local historians producing a publication on the windows and the stories behind them.

In one of the windows there is a fragment of much older glass, possibly from the Priory which pre-dated the present church. Children from the local school will be involved in producing artwork to decorate the boarded-up window spaces while the glass is away at the specialist’s workshop. The  specialists will run separate workshops with for groups of children and adults explaining and demonstrating what goes into making a stained-glass window.

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “St Mary’s Church is a fantastic building with an interesting history. This project will not only conserve the historic stained glass windows, but also provide a range of activities for the local community and schools to learn about how stained glass windows are made, and the fascinating stories they tell.”

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