Rood Cross – Progress So Far – September 2020

St. John’s Parish Magazine. April 1886. Parish News.

Are you not thankful to see that the building of the North Transept and North Aisles of our S. John’s Church is already begun? The writer is deeply thankful, first to God for His continued goodness to us, and next to you for the loving liberality which, humanly speaking, has made the work possible. How grateful we should be if the remaining small sum of 2700l. (£2700), which will enable us to complete the entire West end, could be subscribed, or taken up in ‘Obligations’, at once.

THE DESIGN for the four figures on the Rood Screen, and for the suspended Cross above the screen, was exhibited in the Church a week ago. We believe there is nothing of its sort comparable to it in England, and it will form an unique feature in this Church. The cost of the Cross will be, including fixing, 112l (£112). It has been the wish of the ‘Guild of S. John’ to present this Cross to the Church, but we are a little staggered at the amount. Well, we must see.

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In 2020, the Vicar, Churchwardens and PCC decided to take the cross down to satisfy insurers and ourselves of the safety of the fixings and to take this opportunity to clean and restore it with the cost borne by a generous anonymous donor. We have found no record of it having been taken down at any point since it was first hung; indeed it can be seen suspended serenely amongst the devastation wrought by bombing in the Second World War. We had no idea of its construction or weight.

On the 9th of July, scaffolding was erected to reach the hooks in the vaulting, 15 metres up. It took seven hours to put up – just over 2 minutes in the time lapse video. It was then expertly lowered (20 second time lapse) and the fixings tested and found to be more than capable of sustaining an immense weight.

The Rood Cross measures 16ft x 10ft (approx. 5m x 3m) and is extremely heavy, being constructed of steel, cast iron, brass and wood and is at present being restored and re-gilded in a workshop in Herefordshire. It is a fine design, with delicate cartouches on the ends, by the church architect, John Loughborough Pearson, and we hope to have it back in place this autumn.

Video of Antony Wilson’s Workshop where the Cross was beautifully restored.

A video of the Rood Cross being carried into the Church.

A video of the Cross Being Elevated into Position.

Nicholas Bucknall, Church Warden

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