THE first first phase of work to protect 600-year-old stained glass windows as part of an 11 year, £11m conservation project at York Minster will start next week.

The major project to repair and maintain stone and stained glass in the cathedral’s South Quire Aisle, which dates from the late 1300s, originally began in 2016, with activity to date focusing on replacing and conserving stonework.

Specialist conservators from York Glaziers Trust are now beginning work to protect the area’s medieval stained glass, starting with the removal of two windows from the upper Clerestory level.

The windows, which date from the early 1400s and are approximately 70 feet from the ground, currently have no protection from the elements and are showing the signs of six centuries of exposure, with the glass having cracked and buckled in places allowing water in.

The work is part of a wider 20-year partnership project between York Glaziers Trust and York Minster to ensure all the cathedral’s windows, which hold the largest collection of medieval stained glass in the country, have protection from the environment.

Sarah Brown, director of York Glaziers Trust, said: “The conservation work will include removing all 72 panels from both windows over the next nine months so gentle cleaning can be undertaken."

Funding for the £11m project has been kick-started with an endowment grant of up to £1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).