Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A gallery in a church where the rood and its appendages were placed. This loft or gallery was commonly situated between the nave and the chancel, or over the rood-screen. The front of the loft, like the screen below, was usually richly ornamented with tracery and carvings, either in wood or in stone. It was often approached by a small staircase in the wall of the building. This feature does not appear in modern churches, and has now been removed from a large proportion of the medieval churches. The rood-loft originated from a combination of the rood-beam and ambo. The center was used as ambo (jube), and the epistle and gospel were read and announcements made from it. It was placed over the entrance to the choir, so that both could stand in the middle line (longitudinal axis) of the church, and the approach to it was made from the side of the church along a broadened rood-beam or loft crowning the rood-screen. See also diagram under cathedral.
“But in my dreams of Combray (like those architects, pupils of Viollet-le-Duc, who, fancying that they can detect, beneath a Renaissance rood-loft and an eighteenth-century altar, traces of a Norman choir, restore the whole church to the state in which it probably was in the twelfth century) I leave not a stone of the modern edifice standing, I pierce through it and”
“In the year 946, during the reign of Cynan ap Elisap Anarawd, King of Gwynedd North, there was a Christian temple at Harden, and a rood-loft, in which was placed an image of the Virgin Mary, with a very large cross in her hands, which was called “holy rood.””
“From stone walls and lofty, arched roof, from rood-loft and transept arcades, the echoes flew and rebounded, and the candles that had stood so still and tall shook and guttered in the gale.”
“It was a lofty stone wall, against which stood the altar of the holy cross, or rood-altar, as it was more commonly called, and upon it was a gallery called the rood-loft, from its containing the great rood and its attendant images.”
“The side of the rood-loft facing the choir has pendents with grotesque carvings of allegorical signification.”
“There seems also to have been an altar in the hearse over Queen Katherine's tomb; and, though no mention of them occurs, we should suppose there must have been one on each side of the entrance beneath the rood-loft.”
“Of him we are told that he built the whole nave in stone and wood-work, from the tower of the choir to the front, and also erected a rood-loft.”
“The projection of the rood-loft still remained on the top, adorned with fan tracery, and there was also the old door which led up to it.”
“Part of the ancient screen and rood-loft still remain, together with a piscina in the chancel.”
“A careful restoration some years ago brought to light several interesting details that had been hidden for some two hundred years or more; including a stairs to the rood-loft, a squint, and the piscina.”
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