A PANEL of stained glass in Basingstoke, which is one of the rarest in Britain, has been conserved to protect it from weathering.

The 18th-century stained glass, in The Vyne, is a piece of artwork created by John Rowell, housed in a gothic tomb chamber which dates back 250 years, at the National Trust property.

The charity says the work has been undertaken due to increasing rainfall and the heat of the sun caused by climate change.

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Basingstoke Gazette: A view of the stained glass

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “Recently, climate change exacerbated the fragile condition of the window, causing the painted detail to flake, lead-work to warp and leak, and cycles of condensation to eat away at the surface of the glass.

“The marble tomb featuring an effigy of Chaloner Chute, The Vyne’s original 17th-century owner, has also been affected, the surface starting to erode into small crystals, known as ‘sugaring’.”

The glass window, which depicts the Adoration of the Shepherds after Van Dyck, is considered to be the most important surviving example of Rowell’s work.

They added: “Originally a plumber, Rowell was a self-taught glass-maker and although accomplished, his paint was not durable enough to withstand the test of time and would ‘vanish’ from the glass. Very little of his work remains."

The work was carried out by specialist conservators Holy Well Glass of Wells, Somerset, following a year of monitoring.

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The glass was removed and cleaned under microscopes, which involved rolling cotton buds soaked in ethanol and de-ionised water gently across the surface before a secondary glazing layer was added to lead and hand-made glass.

Dominique Shembry, National Trust curator at The Vyne, said: “It’s wonderful to see these two beautiful windows back in their rightful place, looking so clean and free from mould.”

The Vyne was transformed from a cluster of medieval buildings into a Tudor palace between 1500 and 1520 by William Sandys, who became Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII in 1526.

The ostentatiously designed tomb chamber, which remains empty, was created as a family mausoleum by John Chute in the 1770s, who also designed part of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill.