Flintshire church appeals for help restoring magnificent stained glass windows
A church in Mold has launched an appeal for help to raise funds to restore a stunning series of beautiful stained glass windows by one of Wales’s most talented 20th century craftsmen.
The 12 glass panels were made by Jonah Jones for the Church of the Resurrection of Our Saviour, at Morfa Nefyn, in Gwynedd, built to cater for holidaymakers in 1968 but which closed four years ago.
They have been kept at St David’s Catholic Church in Mold in two specially-adapted storage units supplied by Denbigh-based Lock Stock Self Storage pending their restoration by experts at the University of Wales in Swansea.
The exquisitely coloured glass pieces are examples of the dalle de verre or glass slab technique, where pieces of stained glass are cut or broken off and set in resin and studded with quartz – each of the pieces at St David’s weighs 100kg, over 200 pounds.
Their creator was Jonah Jones, born in Washington, County Durham, in 1919 to a mining family of Welsh origin and who returned to Wales to develop into a hugely talented craftsman, sculptor and artist.
Mike Bunting, from Mold, a member of St David’s Church and a retired chartered engineer who worked in the energy industry and was commissioning and operations manager during the building of Connah’s Quay Power Station, has been responsible for looking after the panels.
He said: “We have been using the storage units to house the glass panels but the first six have now been taken down to Swansea to be restored by a team of experts at the University of Trinity St David’s.
“They have been a perfect way of keeping them safe and in a stable environment and now the remaining six windows have been moved to the church itself ready to be sent to Swansea before they all come back here to Mold.
“But the National Lottery is not taking applications for funding during the pandemic which means that I have had to look at other funding organisations.
“We have managed to secure some funding and are awaiting responses from others but we really need help to ensure these remarkable artworks are preserved.
“I am hoping that funding is in place and that work can start on the refurbishment of the stained glass windows sometime within the first quarter next year.
“We plan to hang them in the church and we’re so pleased to have been able to offer them a new home in the diocese.
“Four panels will be set in front of the windows at the sides of the church so the light will flood through them with two each on the walls at the front and rear which will be illuminated with LED lights.
“It’s quite a coincidence that both I and my wife are from Washington in County Durham which was also the birthplace of Jonah Jones.”
Mike Trow, of Lock Stock Self Storage, said: “I am sure they will look absolutely stunning when they’re hung here.
“It’s wonderful that these fantastic works of art are going to find a new home in Mold and we’ve just been glad to be able to help out while permanent arrangements are made.
“It is amazing the different uses our storage units can be put to and housing 12 stained glass windows is certainly a new one for me but it just underlines how versatile they are.”
Jonah Jones was born Leonard Jones but picked up the nickname Jonah in World War Two when as a conscientious objector he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was at Arnhem and one of the first of the Allied forces to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
He went on to work in slate, stone and bronze as well as in stained, leaded and concrete glass, painted in watercolour and even wrote a biography of Portmeirion architect Clough Williams-Ellis.
When his works are put up at St David’s they will join a collection of glass panels made by the monks of Buckfast Abbey in Devon which were installed when the church was built in 1966.
St David’s Church have set up a special Go Fund Me website for their appeal at https://www.gofundme.com/jonah-jones-stained-glass-windows-repair
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