The most noticeable recent repairs have been to the stonework of some of the windows made necessary by the long-term effect of weather, and corrosion of the wrought iron glazing bars. Following the restoration of three 15th Century windows in the Chapel, completed in 2004, work began on windows in the Long Gallery and Ante-Room, overlooking the upper courtyard.
This was a delicate project carried out by local stonemason, R.M. Eaton Stonemasonry, with the intricate stonework being exactly copied, using local Derbyshire sandstone, in the same perpendicular style and carefully lime mortared back into position. The windows were carefully removed, and after assessment and taking a rubbing of each panel, each piece of glass was dismantled, gently cleaned, and then re-leaded. Some of the ancient, olive-green ‘quarries’ or diamond-shaped panels were less than a millimetre thick.
This project was completed in 2015, but restoration work then continued throughout 2017 and 2018, focussed on the masonry of the Duke’s Tower and the tower above the entrance to the Banqueting Hall. Over a number of years we have also undertaken a programme of applying UV filter membrane to the inside of both the new windows and other windows in the building, to help protect the precious furniture and tapestries in the rooms.
However, in a building like Haddon Hall, there is always further work to be undertaken and from the autumn of 2019 and into 2020 we shall begin work on the wonderful East Chancel Window in the Chapel. This project will progress through similar stages to the Long Gallery and Ante-Room windows, requiring the careful and delicate removal of the fine glass prior to the careful replication of the stone tracery by our stonemason. This window, however, includes beautiful stained glass images, once vandalised during the 19th century, which will require meticulous and very specialised restoration. We are hugely excited to begin this project, made possible with the generous support of the Historic Houses Foundation (http://www.historichousesfoundation.org.uk/), and look forward to unveiling the finished Chancel window during 2020.