The Rood Screen

The Rood Screen

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852)

Cathedral Church of St. Chad, Birmingham

Source: Present State of Ecclesiastical Architecture, facing p. 78

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The great rood was certainly one of the most impressive features of a Catholic Church; and a screen surmounted with its lights and images, covered with gold and paintings of holy men, forms indeed a glorious entrance to the holy place set apart for sacrifice. We have here introduced an etching of the great screen and rood lately erected in the Cathedral Church of St. Chad, Birmingham, and which will afford a tolerable idea of the sublime effect of the ancient roodscreens, before their mutilation under Edward the Sixth. The images are all ancient and were procured from some of the suppressed continental abbeys; the crucifix itself is of the natural size, and carved with wonderful art and expression; the images of our blessed Lady and St. John are less in proportion, which is quite correct. Immediately under tracery panels in front of the loft, are a series of ancient sculptures; the centre of which represents the consecration of St. Chad, patron of the church, the other refers to the life and glories of St. John the Baptist. On the mullions between the open panels, on foliated corbels, are eight images of prophets. The rood Is richly gilt and painted, and it is proposed to continue the same decoration over the screen itself. At St. Alban's, Macclesfield, is a perpendicular screen, also surmounted by an ancient rood with images and lights. St. Mary's, Dudley, St. Oswald's, near Liverpool, St. Wilfred's, Manchester, are all furnished with roods and screens, revived faithfully from ancient authorities, enriched with paintings and gilding, as- cended by a turret staircase, and in all respects similar to those which existed in the old English Churches previous to their desecration under Protestant ascendency.

Scanned image and text George P. Landow

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