The Altar Screen
Moving to the east now so that we can look at the reredos more closely. It was designed and built by Sir Ninian Comper (1864-1960), a leading English church architect. It has been described as ‘a vision of heaven described in the book of Revelation’. It was completed in the late 1930s although the project was begun before the First World War – the war itself and lack of funds delaying its completion. It was dedicated to the fallen of the Great War in 1919 and was privately funded. It was dedicated, unfinished, on 5 October 1921. The Great Depression of 1929 prevented the decoration from being completed but an anonymous legacy made in 1934 enabled the work to be completed in about 1937.
The rood (from the Old English meaning ‘cross’) above, found in most medieval churches, is hung on the original stone brackets used for the medieval rood, which would have been torn down during one of the Reformations of the sixteenth century. It shows the crucified Christ with the Virgin Mary and St John on either side. It was meant to remind the congregation of Christ’s sacrifice and of the impending Judgement Day.
On the canopy are the four angels of the Apocalypse.
On your way to the reredos, you may have noticed the inscription on a pillar to your right. It is taken from St Luke’s gospel, 10:16. It is probably late sixteenth century inscribed after the remodelling of the piers. It is though to have survived because a later wall monument was installed over it (all wall monuments had been moved to the aisles).