Sarah Smedes memorial Chapel window restoration completed this summer
Posted August 16, 2012
The Sarah Smedes memorial chapel window returned to campus August 15 following a month-long restoration project to fortify the lead connectors and clean the stained glass. The window is back in place for the start of the 171st year at Saint Mary's and well-fortified for many years to come.
In 2010, during a project to restore the memorial windows along the sides of the Chapel (funded by donations to the Tad Tadlock Wyman '60C memorial fund), it was discovered that the lead holding together the pieces in the Sarah Smedes memorial window above the altar was decomposing significantly, meaning the window would eventually be in danger of collapsing. So, the window was removed in mid-July after this summer’s major events and taken to the Stained Glass Associates, Inc., shop for complete restoration at a cost of $11,000, which was paid from the Chapel Fund accumulated from contributions such as the offering during reunion weekends, among other special donations.
The window, which portrays the angel Gabriel watching over us, is inscribed, “In loving memory of Sarah Lyell Smedes, beloved wife of Aldert Smedes and daughter of Thomas Lyell. For all Thy Saints, who from their Labors Rest, March 27, 1813 – April 11, 1889.” Sarah Lyell Smedes came to Saint Mary’s from New York in 1842 with her husband, Aldert Smedes, and helped him start our school for girls. Dr. and Mrs. Smedes greeted each student as she arrived by carriage on front campus on that first day of school in 1842. Built in 1856 from a design by Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church Wall Street and Christ Church in Raleigh, the beloved Saint Mary’s Chapel is a National Historic Site.
Mary Virginia Swain '77C