from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In English churches, a pew from which to read part of the service; especially, after the Reformation, an inclosure in the body of a church, with a door, seat, and desk or desks, used instead of the older and later form of reading-desk or stalls.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
To church, and there saw the first time Mr. Mills in a surplice; but it seemed absurd for him to pull it over his ears in the reading-pew, after he had done, before all the church, to go up to the pulpitt, to preach without it.
From about the period of the Revolution, in 1688, we may trace the commencement of a custom, still partially prevailing, of setting up the pulpit and reading-pew in the middle aisle, in front of the communion table; so that during the whole of the service the back of the minister was turned to the east, and the view of the communion table obstructed; but we have not found any pulpit thus placed of an earlier period.
"When the public talking day came," says he, "I took the reading-pew, and Pitchford's cornet and troopers took the gallery.