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Case Studies

M E Stained Glass - stained glass window restoration, repairs and commissions, church window protection and steel window casements. Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire

Ian Freshney's Handiwork featured on Channel 4 show Grand Designs, Channel 4, 2007

Restoring ancient windows is all in a day's work for Newark craftsman Ian Freshney, but his most challenging task to date was installing windows in a ruined castle in Yorkshire, featured on hit TV series Grand Designs.

Grand Designs returned to Channel 4 in spectacular fashion in spring (March 2007) and the 90-minute edition that launched the four-part series featured the work of local glass expert Ian, 38, who contributed to the mammoth £1m restoration project on the castle, known as Hellifield Peel.

The medieval castle was built near Skipton around 1440, though parts of it are said to date back to 1200. It was designed to protect its inhabitants from violent feudal rivalries and marauding Celts from north of the border, but it had been derelict for decades.

"All that was left at the start were the outer walls," says Ian. "The roof had collapsed and the floors had gone. There were trees growing out of the middle of the building"

"There wasn't a single glazed window or even any remnants of a window in the place," says Ian. "I supplied and fitted 26 opening leaded windows in all, and installed two antique stained glass panels that the owner had bought on eBay"

The restoration has been respectfully and painstakingly overseen by former Collingham couple Francis and Karen Shaw. Mr Shaw, an architect, had spotted the ruined castle as a boy while on holiday and has now rescued it from utter dereliction.

Ian puts the restoration costs at around £1m. He did his work on the house spread over a three-month period last winter: "One of the most important parts of the work was making sure the sizes for the opening windows were perfect, as a lot of the stonework was out of true, in fact there wasn't a perfect right-angle anywhere"

" It was great to be involved in the project and to see it evolve over the year and a half it took to complete the restoration"

Ian and his wife Claire, who also owns a Stained Glass studio, moved from Newark to Loughborough in 2011, which is now their HQ. Ian took over the long-established company, M.E. Stained Glass, from his step-father John Hawcock in 2002.

He has worked on repairs and restorations and new stained glass installations to many churches, historic homes, domestic and commercial properties throughout Nottinghamshire and all the surrounding counties.


M E Stained Glass - stained glass window restoration, repairs and commissions, church window protection and steel window casements.