The great hall window

The great hall window reflecting a sunrise

The great hall window is a key feature of the house’s character. Notable for its scale and individual details (including graffiti where names have been scratched into glass) it would have been a grand statement of wealth when first built.

The great hall window

The great hall window is a striking feature of the house’s façade, notable for its scale and individual details. The 24 lights hold 576 tiles of glass ranging in age from the 16th-19th centuries. Clear glass was imported in the 16th century so the window would have been an incredibly expensive statement of wealth. 

Lights, mullions, transoms!

The structure of the window can be broken down into six sections divided by mullions and transoms. Triple mullions split the window into two sections vertically while four transoms are the horizontal supports. The sections break down to 24 lights that vary in size. The top tier of lights holds 21 tiles, the middle 24 and the bottom 27 tiles.

An illustration detailing the types of glass in the great hall window
An illustration detailing the types of glass in the great hall window
An illustration detailing the types of glass in the great hall window

It’s a complicated structure but the effect is incredibly impressive and is made even more detailed by the different types of glass. Two types can be found in the window, ranging from the 16th – 19th centuries in age, crown and muff (also known as broad). Muff glass is darker, an opaque green in places whereas crown (or spun glass) is transparent; the two types combined add colour and variation to the window.

Cleaning windows

Cleaning the great hall window is no easy task. To clean inside and out the conservation team use a scaffolding tower to reach every tile. They have to be especially careful inside to build the scaffolding around the plaster ceiling!

Cleaning the great hall window
A conservation assistant cleaning the great hall window
Cleaning the great hall window

Each tile is cleaned individually with distilled water and cotton wool, as they clean they photograph and complete condition reports on the window. Any shifts in the structure, breakages and variations are all noted and reported back.