The period of art history where stained glass windows were introduced for church decoration is the Gothic Period, which began during the 12th century. Evidence of solid stained-glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain however can be found as early as the 7th century. The earliest known reference concerning stained glass is found in 675 AD when a Benedict Biscop imported workmen from France to glaze the windows of a monastery which was being built at Monkwearmouth.

From pointed arches to rib vaults to flying buttresses, all of these techniques allowed Gothic architecture to replace the thick, dark walls of Romanesque cathedrals with thin, towering walls of colored glass used directly as a form art decoration. The clever stained glass windows were used to tell multimedia stories concerning events of day.

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