Interesting Facts about Stained Glass Windows: Part 2, Churches

October 27, 2017

Stained glass windows are a popular instalment for so many churches and cathedrals across the world, and it’s easy to see why. Read a selection of some of the most interesting facts on stained glass windows in churches, or view our other facts blog including part 1: general stained glass window facts and part 3: history of and medieval stained glass window facts.


La Sainte Chapelle Stained Glass Windows Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists
La Sainte Chapelle

Stained Glass Windows in Churches Facts


  • The first decorative windows appeared in Christian churches around 400 AD.
  • Only 10% of all stained glass in the world today is used in churches and other religious structures.
  • Stained Glass windows were used in Catholic churches primarily to depict scenes from the Bible that the illiterate masses were not able to read. 
  • During the reformation under Henry VIII, hundreds of monasteries and churches were destroyed as the Church of England was founded. Hundreds of archaic stained glass windows were demolished in the process, with makers of the windows scared to recreate the works for decades.

Gloucester Cathedral
  • The largest, handmade stained glass window is said to be in the Roman Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky. It portrays the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.
  • The stained glass window in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption measures 67ft by 24ft or 20m by 7.3m.
  • The royal medieval gothic chapel of La Sainte-Chapelle is considered the most beautiful for its extensive collection of 13th century stained glass windows.
  • La Sainte-Chapelle has as many as 15 delicately fine windows that form a ‘jewel box’ structure.
  • The York Minster Cathedral’s Great East window built in 1408 contains the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
Old Stained Glass Window
Ely Cathedral
  • The Notre Dame in Paris is considered one of the finest examples of French gothic architecture, and contains many examples of stained glass windows depicting naturalism dating from the 13th century.
  • This stained glass window (right) depicts a medieval peasant and comes from the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral c1340-1349 – that’s 666 years ago! 
  • Stained glass for window making was taken up by the church to illustrate Bible narratives to a largely illiterate population.


Whether listed/protected glasswork or a modern panel, you can contact our specialists at Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists to discuss the maintenance, repair, creation and restoration of your stained glass or leaded windows. Contact us online or call us on 01202 882208 for more information.

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