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Medieval Screen, Ripon Cathedral

The Rood Screen, according to Sir Gilbert Scott, is of a date a few years earlier than 1494, but, if so, it has taken the place of another, which is mentioned in the Fabric Rolls as early as 1408. The general design is that of an arched doorway with four large niches on either side, and a tier of twenty-four small niches over all. The doorway, which retains its original panelled doors, has three shafts in either jamb, and is surmounted by a crocketed ogee hood, under which is a sculpture representing the First Person of the Trinity with attendant angels. A figure of the Saviour evidently once rested, as Walbran noticed, upon the knees of the central Figure; above whose head or shoulder, moreover, there was doubtless once a representation of the Holy Dove. The niches again have crocketed ogee hoods, and in the lower tier contain pedestals bearing shields charged with the arms of the Pigotts and other benefactors, while the sill of the last at either end of this tier is considerably raised, and the space below panelled. The niches contain ribbed vaults, and are cinquefoil, with feathered cusping, and their hoods are prolonged so as to divide the members of the upper tier into pairs; while from the sides of these hoods, from the buttresses, and from the curve of the doorway, thin strips of stone, adorned with knobs that distinctly add to the effect, are carried up to the cornice, along which runs a row of shields bearing traces of colour. In the lower part of the screen the spaces between the strips and under the hoods are filled with tracery. The screen is 12 feet thick, and in the passage through it are two doors, that on the right opening into a winding staircase to the loft above, and that on the left into the north passage of the Saxon crypt.


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Taken on April 21, 2011