St John the Baptist's Church, Strensham (West Gallery)

Recent Photograph of St John the Baptist's Church (West Gallery) (Strensham)

This west gallery is one of the most spectacular “treasures” of this delightful church. The gallery incorporates the remains of a 15th century rood screen, which would originally have separated the nave and chancel. The panel in the centre of the screen contains a representation of Christ. He is flanked on each side by 11 figures of “sundry prelates and saints”, a full list of which are available on a framed reproduction inside the church. Each figure is accomanied by their personal emblem - for example, an archbishop, with pallium and cross; St Blaise (patron saint of woolcombers) with wool, comb and staff; St Edmund (the 9th century Saxon king and martyr) with arrow; St Thomas with carpenter's square; St Peter with keys; St Bartholomew (patron saint of tanners) with flaying knife; St Erasmus (patron saint of sailors) with spit or windlass; St Stephen with stones; and St Anthony with pig.

The guide book emphasises the emblems would have been familiar to medieval congregations in identifying the saints, and perhaps that is no less true for us today.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Image contributed by Rosemary Lockie on 1st September 2008.
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