Commissioned by students between 1900 and 1915, the windows were intended as role models for the young women at Bishop Otter College, one of the first in the country dedicated to the then controversial task of training women as teachers. Men were not admitted until the 1950s.
The image of 7th-century abbess St Hilda, famed for her wisdom, was a tribute in glass to a woman who broke glass ceilings: Sarah Trevor, the college's first female principal when the campus reopened for teacher training in 1873.
When a new chapel opened in 1961, its predecessor was deconsecrated and became part of the library. The windows were removed, discarded or given away. It was only decades later that some were found, in great disrepair, under the floorboards of the chapel and in the basement of the main university building.
In 2011, a generous grant from the Bishop Otter Trustees enabled them to be restored.
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