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"Halsey" Church, St. John the Baptist
Great Gaddesden, Hertfordshire

Photos by Jim Halsey

photo # 14 --

"[This picture] contains an interesting insight into many English
churches and the changes they have enjoyed or endured
over the centuries.

It is of the wall above the pulpit, where the nave meets the chancel, and you will notice a blind doorway, halfway up the wall. It was the door to gain access to the gallery above the rood screen which would have carried across from the south wall to the north wall.

"Rood" comes from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word
meaning "Cross," and it was at this dividing point in
the church, between the nave for ordinary folk and the
chancel for Priests, that a screen was built across
the church which often carried above it a carving of
Christ on the Cross. It also often carried a narrow
gangway from which prayers could be said or sung, and
so access was needed - hence the doorway.

To evangelicals at the time of the Reformation this
division between the priesthood and the populace was
anathema, and many if not most rood screens were
pulled down so that the church was no longer divided.
With the screen down, there was nothing else for it
but to block up the doorway!"

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This page was last updated May 21, 2004.