views updated May 18 2018

Rood. Term, derived from the Anglo-Saxon and Middle-English word for a cross, now used to describe the large Crucifixion set above the entrance to the chancel of a church, sometimes suspended, sometimes supported on a Rood-beam spanning from wall to wall, and sometimes rising from the Rood-loft over the Rood-screen. During the Middle Ages, Rood-, chancel-, or choir-screens were erected in churches where the nave ended and the choir began: in cathedrals and larger churches they are usually of stone and called pulpitum, while in smaller churches simply screens. The top of screens had a gallery or loft, approached from a stair, used for readings and chantings.

Roods themselves, usually of wood but sometimes of stone, consisted of a carving of Christ crucified on the Cross, often flanked by figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John on either side. The two figures and Crucifixion were occasionally supported on a base carved with rocks and skulls to represent Golgotha (a unique example survives in the Church of St Andrew, Cullompton, Devon).

Timber screens (of which many survive, especially in Devon) are often richly decorated with tracery, painted panels (excellent examples can be found in St Edmund's Church, Southwold, Suffolk), and enrichment, the loft or gallery supported on a coved vaulted structure projecting over the screen proper. Most surviving English Rood-screens are C15 or C16 in date, though many were erected during the Gothic Revival, some of the most beautiful by Bodley, Comper, and A. W. N. Pugin.


Bond & and Camm (1909);
J. Parker (1850);
Jane Turner (1996);
Vallance (1947)


views updated Jun 08 2018

rood / roōd/ • n. 1. a crucifix, esp. one positioned above the rood screen of a church or on a beam over the entrance to the chancel.2. chiefly Brit., hist. a measure of land area equal to a quarter of an acre.


views updated May 23 2018

A. cross, spec. that on which Jesus Christ suffered (Holy Rood); crucifix (as on a rood loft or screen);

B. (now local) rod, pole, or perch OE.; superficial measure, 40 square poles. XV. In sense A, OE. rōd = OS. rōda; in the sense of ROD (only in OE. seglrōd sailyard), the Continental forms are OS. rōda, MDu. ro(o)de (also mod. roede), OHG. ruota (G. rute).


views updated May 11 2018

rood a crucifix, especially one positioned above the rood screen of a church or on a beam over the entrance to the chancel. Recorded from Old English (in the form rōd), the word is related to German Rute ‘rod’.