See also: rood-screen


The rood screen of Albi Cathedral in Albi, France, is in the middle of the photograph


rood (cross; crucifix) + screen.



rood screen (plural rood screens)

  1. (architecture, Christianity) A carved screen that separated the chancel and nave in a medieval church; it originally carried a large crucifix; an altar screen.
    • 1867, Illustrations of the Rood-screen at Randworth: Published under the Direction of the Norfolk and Norwich Archæological Society. Drawn and Lithographed by C[ornelius] J[ansen] W[alter] Winter, Norwich: Printed for the Society by Miller and Leavins, OCLC 59222065, page 4:
      The church at Randworth is without aisles, and consists of a chancel and nave only. The rood-screen proper, i.e., the arcade with panels below, is placed, as usual, between the piers of the chancel arch.
    • 1874, “Halesworth Meeting, August 11, 1870. The Lord John Hervey, President.”, in Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archæology, and Natural History. Established March, 1848, for the Collection and Publication of Information on the Ancient Arts and Monuments of the County of Suffolk, volume IV, Bury St. Edmund's: George Thompson, bookseller, Abbeygate Street, OCLC 751606476, page 451:
      An ancient rood screen usually, probably always, consisted of a loft from twelve to twenty feet high, and five to ten feet broad, protected by two parapets, the one towards the chancel the other towards the nave, running its entire length, sometimes quite across the church. [] The space below the loft was filled up by carved work called the rood screen, to screen off the chancel from the nave. This rood screen [in St Edmund's Church, Southwold] is all that ruthless iconoclasts have suffered to remain.
    • 1994, Thomas E. Russo, “The Romanesque Rood Screen of Durham Cathedral: Context and Form”, in David Rollason, Margaret Harvey, and Michael Prestwich, editors, Anglo-Norman Durham, 1093–1193, Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, →ISBN, page 251:
      Exhibited in the treasury of Durham Cathedral are two stone relief panels, dated 1155–60, whose damaged appearance belies their significance for our understanding of the liturgical division of space in twelfth-century cathedrals []. Although easily overlooked, these panels belonged to what was perhaps the single most important piece of ecclesiastical furniture in the Romanesque cathedral of Durham: the rood screen. Like all Romanesque sculpture in our museums and treasuries today, these panels have been uprooted from their original, medieval context. [] The scarcity of evidence for the decorative elaboration of rood screens in the twelfth century makes the Durham panels important vestiges of a type of ecclesiastical furniture whose origin is still obscure to us.
    • 2000, Susan Signe Morrison, “The Milky Way: Women Pilgrims and Visual Art”, in Women Pilgrims in Late Medieval England: Private Piety as Public Performance (Routledge Research in Medieval Studies; 3), London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 27:
      There are about eighty rood screens in Norfolk, which divide the chancel from the nave, most of them dating from 1450–1530, and generally made of wood and adorned with painted saints. [] Rood screens were perceived as aids to devotional meditation.
    • 2012, Eamon Duffy, “The Parish, Piety and Patronage: The Evidence of Rood-screens”, in Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN, page 58:
      The rood-screen was normally a stone or wooden partition, solid to waist-height and then pierced with openings to allow sight of the high altar, and a doorway to permit access to the officiating ministers. A great crucifix, usually supported by a heavy beam, stretched across the top of the screen.

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