Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Rood Stair

A stair leading too the gallery or loft of a rood screen. The rood was a large crucifixion, usually carved and painted, generally with flanking figures of the Virgin Mary and St Peter. It stood on a loft, or gallery above a screen across the chancel arch. To access the gallery a curving stair was often set into the wall beside the chancel arch. The stair would lead through the thickness of the wall behind the arch and emerge at rood loft level. Many rood screens were destroyed during the Reformation, so you frequently see the upper exit of the stair as an orphaned doorway opening beside the chancel arch, seemingly leading nowhere.

Related: Chancel   Chancel Arch   Rood   Rood screen   Arch   Rood Loft   Gallery  

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