Reading-desk the desk or pew from which the minister reads the morning and evening prayer. In the early part of the reign of Edward VI it was the custom of the minister to perform divine service at the upper end of the choir, near the communion-table; towards which, whether standing or kneeling, he always turned his face in the prayers. This being objected to, a new rubric was introduced (in the fifth year of king Edward), directing the minister to turn so that the people might best hear. In some churches, however, the too great distance of the chancel from the body of the church hindered the minister from being distinctly heard by the people; therefore the bishops, at the solicitation of the clergy, allowed them in several places to supersede their former practice, and to have desks or reading-pews in the body of the church; which dispensation, begun at first by some few ordinaries, grew by degrees to be more general, till at last it came to be a universal practice; insomuch that the Convocation, in the beginning of the reign of James I, ordered that in every church there should be a "convenient seat made for the minister to read service in." It is remarkable that the reading-desk is only once recognised in the Prayer-book, viz. in the rubric prefixed to the Commination; and also that the rubric prefixed to the Communion office supposes the continuance of the old practice of reading the service in the choir or chancel. SEE AMBO; SEE LECTERN.