Dartmoor School Creates Temporary 'Stained Glass Window' for Historic Church

A new school art project has kicked off in Princetown this week as part of a collaboration between Princetown Community Primary School and The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), owners of the town’s former parish church.

St Michael and All Angels Church – which is now used as a free visitor attraction, community resource and for occasional special services – is the only church in England built by prisoners of war. Erected between 1812 and 1814, the church is currently undergoing specialist conservation under the guidance of CCT, the national charity protecting historic churches at risk.

The work will repair the church’s stunning painted east window, which was donated in 1910 in honour of U.S. prisoners of war who were incarcerated in nearby Dartmoor Prison during the American War of 1812.

Pupils from Princetown Community Primary School are taking part in a project to temporarily replace the special window with a short-term Perspex window, so the original – which unusually is painted as well as stained – can be carefully cleaned and conserved before being re-installed in September.

This week the school children took part in a one-day learning workshop to explore the art and heritage of the church for inspiration before helping to design the temporary window and decorating it themselves.

The newly decorated temporary window will be installed and be on displayed for visitors until the conservation of the east window is complete.

Colin Shearer, regional director of CCT, said:  “Our incredible estate of 343 heritage churches across the country contain over a 1,000 years’ worth of art and history. Our job at The Churches Conservation Trust is to protect and conserve these for future generations to enjoy. It’s an absolute pleasure to be working with Princetown’s school children to achieve this in such a fun and creative way. The local community plays a vital role in supporting St Michaels and All Angels Church, from our local volunteers who keep the church open every day and vital fundraising support from local people to the input and energy of the school teachers and pupils.”

Over £65,000 has been raised toward the conservation of the East Window, including £45,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund South West, with £20,000 still to be raised. If you think you could help save the window – or for more information on the church and its histoyr.