AFTER six years of meticulous work on one of the most iconic stained glass windows in the country a significant milestone has now been reached.

Experts will next year begin the painstaking task of returning medieval glass to the restored tracery of the huge Great East Window of York Minster.

But in a UK first the country’s largest expanse of medieval glass is being protected with a ventilated protecting glazing system, using an innovative UV-resistant glass made in Germany – and the first panels are now being put in place.

The director of the York Glaziers Trust, Sarah Brown, said: “This is an important milestone in the story of the Great East Window.

“The protective glazing is manufactured using the most up-to-date glass technology available in the world.

“The protection offered by the new UV-resistant glazing system could extend the life of the stained glass well into the next century and hopefully beyond.”

The glass was originally designed and installed by master glazier John Thornton more than 600 years ago.

It was carefully removed in the spring and summer of 2008 allowing the conservation of stone and glass to proceed as part of the continuing restoration of the great cathedral.