The hidden home of medieval treasures tucked down an unassuming York side street

When one thinks of the splendours of medieval York, it’s inevitable that the Gothic minster comes to mind.

But hidden away on a side street not thronged by the footfall of thousands of tourists is an unassuming church which holds hidden treasures – one of the most impressive collections of stained glass in the country.

Now two more windows from stained glass of All Saints, on the city’s North Street, have been restored to their earlier glories as part of a National Lottery funded project.

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The latest windows to be completed and returned are the St. Michael and St. John window, as well as the South East Aisle window – hailed as a “great milestone” to the Heritage Fund project.

Stained Glass at York's All Saints Church has been restoredStained Glass at York's All Saints Church has been restored
Stained Glass at York's All Saints Church has been restored

The St. Michael and St. John window, built in 1430, on the left side depicts St. Michael the archangel defeating Satan, depicted as a blue animal with three heads.

The head of St. Michael was stolen in the 1840s and this work sees the first restoration of the face in 180 years. On the right side it depicts St. John the Evangelist holding a scroll reading ‘Benedictus sit sermo oris tui’, ‘Blessed be the word of your mouth’.

The windows have been restored by Barley Studios based in Dunnington and include a protective isothermic glass covering.

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Ruth Mather, All Saint’s community engagement officer, said: “The restorers have this really deep knowledge of what a medieval window would have looked like, what the colours would have been, while using modern technology to protect them.

"All Saints is a small parish church tucked away – but it punches above its weight in terms of historical features.

"The windows really are remarkable, and truly unique.

"I think they give a real insight into what a medieval church would look like, the colour and ritual involved in worship at a time when everyone wasn’t literate – multi-sensory experiences would have been quite important at conveying the glory and wonder of God to the congregation.”

David Titchener, Chair of The Friends of All Saints, said: “The return of the two windows to the church marks a great milestone in our successful restoration project.

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“All Saints contains more medieval glass than almost any other parish church in England and we are so thankful for the careful craftsmanship of the team at Barley Studios for taking such care in restoring them to their original magnificence.”

The windows are the seventh and eighth to be restored as part of the project, with the next in the collection – the Nine Orders of Angels – due to return to the church in 2023.

The church is open to visitors every day, and those with a particular interest can enjoy a talk from project mnager Dr David Mercer will deliver an illustrated talk on making medieval stained glass on November 4 at 2pm.