History of sash windows

The story of Sash Windows

Sash windows are surely the quintessential style of window in the UK.

Simple yet elegant, in our opinion, they remain both the most beautiful and efficient design ever created. Other styles of windows will almost certainly look out of place in Georgian, Regency or Victorian properties.

By faithfully reproducing the elegance of traditional timber construction with modern materials and energy efficient glazing,  each Bygone window allows you to enjoy stunningly authentic styles that blend perfectly into your home, whilst living up to modern expectations.

The above photograph shows two semi-detached properties in a conservation area, restricted by an Article Four Directive. Our sash windows sit directly alongside the original timber sashes... can you spot the replacements?

Sash windows were first installed nearly 400 years ago. They were originally propped open with wedges or timber dowels until someone decided to open them with rope, like a drawbridge.


Glass has played an important part in the development of sash windows, being more expensive than gold when it was first used! The challenge has been to make cheaper glass and larger panes, thus eliminating the need for astragal glazing bars to hold the glazing in place. 

As glass became cheaper, the transition from small diamond shaped lead lights, to Georgian squares and finally on to larger Victorian sheet glass, was eventually hung on chains because the weight had increased so considerably. 

Planning legislation has also had a huge influence on the style and design of our period buildings in some surprising ways, and none more so than the great fire of London. 


The Great Fire of London in 1666 played a pivotal role in sash window design. Soon after the event, the capital changed its building regulations to prevent the future spread of fire. These new guidelines called for timber window frames to be recessed behind the outside stone or brick facade, leading to the development of Georgian architecture, which incorporated sash windows as the most advanced window of their time.


This evocative style quickly became highly chic. Rich merchants built grand town houses and stately homes to display their wealth. To discover how wealthy a particular family was, just look at the glazing; the larger the glazed area, the greater the owner’s fortune. There was a huge rush for prestigious sash window styles that consequently replaced outdated casement windows.


This era was probably the most elegant period for our preferred design. During the late 1600s and early 1700s, the classic six over six pane style was considered the norm. During the 1700s windows became increasingly larger, however, panes remained small throughout this period, dictated by glass manufacturing techniques of the time.


During the 1880s marginal pane glazing bars were established as the style of choice until the early 20th century.


Manufacturers were able to produce larger panes with more advanced glass production techniques. Consequently window sizes were larger too, using bigger panes and often just one single glazing bar.



Investing in the right sash windows is critical for period homes because of the varying development and style changes over the years. Our local installers are experienced with sash windows, shutters and the process or removal or retention, and will offer you a free consultation and written quotation.

Read more about our products to discover how Bygone creates bespoke designs to your precise specifications and remains faithful to the spirit of 400 years of sash window development.

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These sash windows are only sold through our national network of premier partners, all of whom are certified and approved Bygone sash window installers




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"We have had 28 windows (one arched), a pair of French doors and a set of byfold doors fitted in our 200-year old house"

"They look fantastic"

Nick and Karen - Essex

Featured sash windows

  • Non Bar

  • Full Georgian

  • Half Georgian

  • Georgian Varient

  • Centre-Bar

  • Three Light

  • Marginal Border

  • Marginal or 'Off-Set'Three Light

  • Asymmetric

  • True Arch

  • Swept Head

  • Coupled Style 2

  • coupled Style 3

  • 1/3rd split

Sash window styles have changed in the last three hundred years but you can select whichever suits your home best.

Here are a few ideas >

Accreditations >

Learn why you get better windows because of these

  • BBA - British Board of Agrément Certified
  • ISO 9001:2000 Certified Organisation
  • SBD - Secured By Design Approved Windows
  • British Fenestration Ratings Council - A Rating
  • Energy Savings Trust Recommended Windows
  • CE Compliant Windows
  • Member of The Glazing Ombudsman
  • All Bygone windows are manufactured in the UK

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