Medieval stained glass is the coloured and painted glass of medieval Europe from the 10th century to the 16th century. For much of this period stained glass windows were the major pictorial art form, particularly in northern France, Germany and England, where windows tended to be larger than in southern Europe (in Italy, for example, frescos were more common).
Stained glass windows were used predominantly in churches, but were also found in wealthy domestic settings and public buildings such as town halls, though surviving examples of secular glass are very rare indeed. The purpose of stained glass windows in a church was both to enhance the beauty of their setting and to inform the viewer through narrative or symbolism. The subject matter was generally religious in churches, though "portraits" and heraldry are often included, and many narrative scenes give valuable insights into the medieval world.