Forgotten jewel in theme park mansion re-emerges after sparkling restoration
For children of a certain age, the name Alton Towers is synonymous with rollercoasters. Yet for more than 500 years before this Midlands estate became a theme park, it was home to the Earls of Shrewsbury. A medieval castle was replaced in 1850 by a gothic manor, designed by Augustus Pugin, the architect best known for his work on the Palace of Westminster .
One of the highlights of Pugin’s design is a 32-foot-tall stained glass window, thought to be the largest of its kind installed in a private house. The window was removed in 2010, sitting in storage before being restored and finally unveiled again last month. “Pugin pulled out all the stops on this window,” says David Williams [pictured] of Shropshire conservators Williams & Byrne. “These are some of the finest heraldic stained glass windows in Britain, possibly Europe.”