rood screen

rood screen
a screen, often of elaborate design and properly surmounted by a rood, separating the nave from the choir or chancel of a church.

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      in Western architecture, element of a Christian church of the Middle Ages or early Renaissance that separated the choir or chancel (the area around the altar) from the nave (the area set apart for the laity). The rood screen was erected in association with the rood, which in Old English means “cross,” or “crucifix.”

 At first the great rood of a medieval church was supported by a single beam, spanning the nave at the entrance to the chancel and known as the rood beam. Later a rood screen was added, rising from the floor to this beam; the rood loft, above the screen, was also added. Upon this loft, or gallery, were displayed the rood and the two statues (of the Virgin Mary (Mary) and St. John (John the Baptist, Saint)) that usually flanked it. The loft also held candles to be lighted on festival days. Because minstrels performed there on special occasions, the loft was also known as the singing gallery. The rood stairs, either built into the stone wall of the chancel or housed in a freestanding turret, rose from the church floor to the loft.

      From the 14th century until the mid-16th century, rood screens and lofts were prominent features of churches in England and on the European continent. These elements, especially the openwork screens, provided artists with an opportunity for the creation and display of elaborate carvings and paintings. The largest and richest rood screen and loft in France were carved in the Albi cathedral about 1500.

      In 16th-century England, with Henry VIII's establishment of the Anglican (Anglicanism) church, it was decreed that the rood and everything else above the rood beam had to be removed. Rood screens were allowed to remain, but thereafter they were more often called chancel screens. Some English rood screens have escaped destruction, and some have been restored—such as the excellent example in St. James's Church in Avebury, Wiltshire, erected in the 15th century and restored in the 19th century. Late Renaissance church architects preferred an unbroken view into the chancel from the nave, so by 1800 the rood screen and loft had become virtually obsolete throughout Europe. Nonetheless, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, churches in the Gothic Revival style frequently reintroduced rood screens.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Rood screen — Rood Rood (r[=oo]d), n. [AS. r[=o]d a cross; akin to OS. r[=o]da, D. roede rod, G. ruthe, rute, OHG. ruota. Cf. {Rod} a measure.] 1. A representation in sculpture or in painting of the cross with Christ hanging on it. [1913 Webster] Note:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rood screen — n. an ornamental screen, usually with a rood above it supported by a beam (rood beam), serving as a partition between the nave and the chancel of a church …   English World dictionary

  • rood screen — rood ,screen noun count a large decorated screen in some Christian churches that separates the main part of the church from the part where the ALTAR is …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • rood screen — rood′ screen n. archit. a screen separating the nave from the choir or chancel of a church • Etymology: 1835–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • rood screen — ► NOUN ▪ a screen of wood or stone separating the nave from the chancel of a church …   English terms dictionary

  • rood screen — n technical a decorated wooden or stone wall in a Christian church which divides the part where the ↑choir sit from the part where other people sit …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Rood screen — 15th century jubé from the chapel of St Fiacre at Le Faouet Morbihan, including the two thieves. Usual lo …   Wikipedia

  • rood screen — noun a screen in a church; separates the nave from the choir or chancel • Hypernyms: ↑screen • Part Holonyms: ↑church, ↑church building * * * noun : a screen separating the chancel of a church from the nave and often surmounted by a cross or… …   Useful english dictionary

  • rood screen — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms rood screen : singular rood screen plural rood screens a large decorated screen in some Christian churches that separates the main part of the church from the part where the altar is …   English dictionary

  • Rood Screen —    The word rood is the old Saxon word for cross or crucifix; and the term rood screen is the name given to the screen or open partition to be seen in many churches, placed between the chancel and the nave, and which is always surmounted by the… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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