Service marks restoration work on Mary Lowndes stained glass window in Shropham

Work to restore the beauty of a historically important stained glass window was marked with a special re-dedication service this week.

More than 100 people gathered at St Peter and St Paul Church in Shropham, near East Harling, on Monday evening to pay thanks to those who worked on the restoration of the image created by renowned stained glass artist Mary Lowndes.

Dating back to 1898, the Shropham Nativity, which uses rich reds, oranges and greens to depict the birth of Christ, sits on the south wall of the church and is regarded as of national importance.

Reverend Michael Langan, priest-in-charge of the Shellrock benefice, who was installed at the Shropham Church six months ago, said the window was 'astounding'.

'When I first walked into the church it took my breath away because it is about the Christmas story and full of colour and light,' he added. 'We wanted to celebrate the fact the church is still open and a presence in the village and pay thanks to the artist and all the people who worked on the window.'

Mary Lowndes was known for her work in the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of the 19th century, but was also involved in the growing movement for women's political rights before and after the first world war.

The Shropham window, restored using grants from several charities, was the first of its kind by Lowndes to be fabricated in the newly-established Lowndes and Drury workshop in Chelsea.

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Monday's 110-strong congregation, led by the Bishop of Norwich, included the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, the chairman of Norfolk County Council, Ian Munson, and other local community leaders. The bishop also led prayers of thanksgiving for the recent restoration and repair of the church tower.

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