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The Ecclesiological Society

For those who love churches

Annual Conference: Chancel screens since the Reformation

Location:St Albans Centre
Baldwins Gardens,

The theme of the Ecclesiological Society’s 2019 conference is the development of the chancel screen in British parish churches from the Reformation to the modern day. The destruction of the rood and rood loft during the Reformation removed key aspects of the meaning and purpose of the screen. How and why did chancel screens survive at all? Yet they were not per se targeted by iconoclasts and, indeed, new chancel screens were erected across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After a period when relatively few new screens were erected, the nineteenth century saw a revival in their creation, led by the Ecclesiologists, as well as the extensive adaptation (and even removal) of old ones. The building of a new generation of Roman Catholic churches also touched upon the role of chancel screens and whether they were, or were not, an integral requirement for proper worship. The continuation of interest in screens in the twentieth century – even in some modernist churches – may surprise, but shows the lasting contribution which screens make to our notions of what a church should look like and how it should function. Fittingly, therefore, the conference will end with a panel discussion about the adaptation and relocation of screens today and will include a presentation about a new screen being designed for a church in Kent.

Our speakers will be:

Lucy Wrapson: Chancel screens at the eve of the Reformation
Trevor Cooper: “A comely partition betwixt the chancel and the church”: English chancel screens from the Reformation to the Civil War.
Mark Kirby: A Patristic experiment: the screens of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches.
John Roberts: “A chancel without a screen is scarcely a chancel at all” (The Ecclesiologist, January 1845): The Oxford Movement, A.W.N. Pugin, Camdenians, Ritualists, Evangelicals, and the rood screen.
Andrew Derrick: Gallicans versus Romans: squaring medievalism with Trent.
Clare Price: “A Considerable Devotional and Artistic Asset” or an “Obstruction to Worshippers”? Changing perspectives on chancel screens in the twentieth century.
Panel session: Attitudes to screens in the twenty-first century. A discussion panel with Paul Velluet, John Hardy and Geoffrey Hunter.

Click below for booking form.