Making History: Presbytery Works

January 2, 2018

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Over the last three years we have been working hard to conserve our magnificent Presbytery, the area of the Cathedral used by the clergy and choir during worship. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund we have been able to carry out urgent repair work, including re-leading the roof, restoring the windows, and conserving the vault. We are delighted to announce that the work is now complete and the scaffolding is gradually being removed.

What is happening to the Presbytery?

The Presbytery Roof

The roof was last re-leaded in the 1890s and the lead covering had torn and slipped, letting in water and threatening the wooden vaulting beneath. An astonishing 54 tonnes of lead were required to fix the roof, using an innovative scaffolding structure and one of the largest cranes in the country! The work was completed in February 2016.

The Presbytery Windows

The stained glass in the Presbytery remains a significant example of late-medieval glass painting. Over time, much of the glass had corroded resulting in a loss of the painted detail. An extensive conservation programme over the last three years has seen eight of the nine windows conserved at Holy Well Glass studio in Wells. The ninth window was so fragile that conservation work was carried out in-situ.The final window has now been installed and the beautifully conserved windows will be revealed as the scaffolding is gradually removed.

The Presbytery Vault

The vault has a superb display of episcopal and royal heraldry, with four painted schemes dating from the early 16th century, the 1630s, 1819 and the 1950s. Unfortunately, these later paint schemes had obscured the original vibrancy of the bosses.  Now the 250-plus decorative bosses have been conserved and restored to their former glory, highlighting the stunning 16th-century decorative scheme.

Thank you for your patience during this time. We look forward to welcoming you back to Winchester Cathedral in April 2018 to see the finished result!


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