Rood Beam, or Rood Loft

Rood Beam, Or Rood Loft.

The rood spoken of above was supported either by a beam called the rood beam, or by a gallery called the rood loft, over the screen separating the choir or chancel of a church from the nave. Rood lofts do not appear to have been common in England before, if so soon as, the 14th century. They were approached from the inside of the church, generally by a small stone staircase in the wall, which is often to be found in churches which have lost all other traces of them. The front was frequently richly paneled, and the under side formed into a large covered cornice, or ornamented with small ribs and other decorations, connecting it with the screen below. Although most of the rood lofts in England have been destroyed, a considerable number of examples (more or less perfect) remain, as at Long Sutton, Kingsbury Episcopi, Barnwell, Dunster, Timberscombe. Minehead, and Winsham, Somersetshire; Newark, Nottinghamshire; Charlton-on-Otmoor, and Handborough, Oxfordshire; Merevale, Knowle, and Worm- Leighton, Warwickshire; Flamsted, Hertfordshire; Uffendon, Bradninch, Collumpton, Dartmouth, Kenton, Plymptree, and Hartland, Devon, etc. The rood loft was occasionally placed above the chancel arch, as at Northleach, Gloucestershire. It sometimes extended across the first arch of the nave, as in Castle Hedingham Church, Essex. There are some very fine and rich rood lofts in Wales, in churches which are in other respects plain and poor.

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