Definitions

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.

Etymologies

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Examples

  • 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.

    The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sep/Oct 1662

  • 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.

    The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed.

  • "When the public talking day came," says he, "I took the reading-pew, and Pitchford's cornet and troopers took the gallery.

    The Complete Works of Whittier

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