Rood Screen Stairs - St Mary & All Saints' Church, Church Street, Little Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6BH
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member greysman
N 52° 53.469 E 000° 52.494
31U E 357034 N 5862276
Built into the north chancel wall is the access to the Rood Screen which once graced the chancel arch and formed part of the division between the laity and clergy.
Waymark Code: WMVC9Y
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 03/31/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 1

This parish church dates from the C14th and C15th but was gutted by fire on 14th July, 1961, only the tower and lower parts of the walls, the font, some memorial brasses and north porch remaining. The rest of the church has been restored, Laurence King was the architect, with a new nave roof and new arcades and is now Grade I listed. Built of flint with stone dressings it comprises a nave, a chancel, north and south aisles, north and south transepts, a west tower with lead needle spire and porch, and a C15th two-storeyed and vaulted south porch. There are new and restored Perpendicular windows, the east window by John Hayward. The fire also destroyed several C15th screens.

The stairs in the north nave wall to the left of the chancel arch led to the rood loft which, in Medieval times, would have carried the Great Rood or 'Christ Crucified', a large carved figure of Christ on the cross, it would normally have been supported by statues of saints, The Virgin Mary and St.John were favourites. The word rood is derived from the Saxon word rood or rode, meaning "cross" or "crucifix". Here the stairs are still present as is the upper loft doorway but the rood loft itself has gone, it has been replaced by a modern 'rood' suspended from the ceiling at the chancel arch. The priest used to walk across the rood loft [beam] to attend to the candles placed before the figures of the saints, scary. The rood screen (also known as the choir screen, chancel screen, or jube) is a common feature in late medieval church architecture and is typically an ornate partition between the chancel and nave, (between the laity and the clergy), of more or less open tracery constructed of wood, stone, or wrought iron, here this screen was destroyed in the fire.

For more information see Wikipedia, 'Rood screen'.

Words from British Listed Buildings, Simon Knott's Norfolk Churches, and Pevsner's Norfolk 1 Buildings with amendments from own on site observations.

Coordinates are for the west porch entrance.

Approximate Age of Artefact: mid C14th

Relevant Website: Not listed

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