A decorative photo showing hands cutting orange class for a Stained Glass project.

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a community grant by Make It York and York Civic Trust as part of the York Trailblazers project. We’ll be teaming up with All Saints North Street and York Carers to research, design and make an original Stained Glass artwork inspired by the life of Dame Emma Raughton, Anchoress of All Saints. The craft of Stained Glass is now considered to be in danger of becoming a ‘lost craft’, so this project forms part of York Learning’s commitment to promoting heritage crafts while creating a permanent legacy for people who are often unable to access creative opportunities in the city.

All Saints North Street is considered a ‘hidden gem’ amongst the city’s historical buildings, with the church and its astonishing collection of medieval stained glass tucked away on one of the quieter streets within the walls. The story of the medieval anchoress Dame Emma Raughton is even less well known, with even the concept of an anchorite – a religious recluse living in a building attached (anchored) to a church – being unfamiliar to the general population. Emma’s story offers fascinating insights into the roles of gender and religion in medieval life and the potential for an obscure and isolated woman sequestered in a parish church to influence events of international importance. Participants will learn about the anchoress on the site where she once lived, before translating their knowledge and creative response into a moveable artwork that can then bring the story to a much wider audience.

The completed work, we envisage, will be housed in a sustainable wooden frame on wheels which can be transported to various locations around the city for exhibition purposes once the project is complete. We’ll be able to take a modern piece of work about stories of medieval York into newly built premises, provoking conversations about a relatively unknown aspect of the city’s history.