Rare piece of Macon’s famed Hay House returns soon


Beau Cabell

In this January 2017 file photo, Frank Ringwood, left, and Nigel Johnson place the Hay House Lord Byron window in the “Secret Room” after removing it from the staircase hallway where it was damaged by straight line winds. Johnson said it would be taken to their facilities in New York for repair.

A prominent feature at Macon’s Hay House will soon return to the main staircase at the 150-plus-year-old home.

The house, on Georgia Avenue, has one of the oldest stained-glass windows in Georgia.

Strong winds damaged the 15-by-6-foot window during a summer storm.

“Several portions of the lower two-thirds of the window shattered,” Jonathan Poston, the Hay House director, said recently.

Poston said the window has been damaged before and was most recently restored in the early 2000s.

William Butler Johnston and his wife, Anne, the original owners of the home, commissioned the window after returning from an extended honeymoon across Europe.

Known as the Lord Byron window, the topmost panel features English poet George Gordon Byron. While abroad, Anne Johnston became fascinated by the famed poet and used his work to describe many of the places she saw.

“The presence of the portrait in the window is quite unusual. Many of our researchers believe it comes from a different company in Europe, later being brought over and inserted,” Poston said.

The window is now being repaired by Nigel Johnson of Cohoes Stained Glass in Schenectady, New York.

“Nigel is the principal of the firm and trained at Canterbury Cathedral as well as other English sites,” Poston said.

To retain the integrity of the window, the Georgia Trust hopes to incorporate as many of the shattered pieces as possible, as well as pieces that were archived from previous storms.

“Removing the window was an extensive process,” Poston said. “Nigel and his team used scaffolding to remove each section of the window, which are fit into wood sashes.”

The project cost about $40,000, Poston said. The Georgia Trust hopes to install the window in the coming months.


This article originally appeared in The Macon Telegraph.