The Rood Screen of Walpole St Peter’s Church, Norfolk

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The Virgin Mary and Christ Child

This was my second visit to this beautiful church, St Peter’s Church in Walpole St Peter in Norfolk, which is less then 10 minutes from where we live.  The first visit was last Christmas, I did do a Christmas post of the church in all its Christmas finery.  This last visit took place yesterday with intense blue skies, although a little somewhat windy, but this meant the church was full of brilliant light.  Although the light was lovely for taking interior photos of the church, it was quite difficult to photograph the rood screen, as the panels are very pale.

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Like so many others, the screen has been cut down, so that only the dado survives.  Also missing are the elaborate carved tracery that canopies the heads of the figures.  In this screen there are twelve compartments, and they are filled with a mixture of apostles and virgin saints, including the Virgin Mary and Christ Child.

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Reading the booklet on the screen, it suggests that not all the panels here come originally from the rood screen, as only nine out of twelve apostles are present, it could be an amalgamation of two screens.  Although apparently the shape left by the removal of the tracery is very similar on all the panels, which would imply that they were always part of the rood screen.

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On the North side of the screen the first panel is St Catherine of Alexandria, the Virgin and Child and St Margaret.

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This panel, St John the Evangelist, St James the Great and St Thomas.

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Moving to the South side of the rood screen, St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew.

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The last panel is St Mary Magdalene, St Dorothy and St Barbara.

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What is certain is that more the one painter was involved, and one was more talented then the other. as the virgin saints are less refined than those of the apostles.  I have taken some close ups, but there is one missing, St Thomas who did not turn out very well, nor did St Margaret, but I have added her panel.

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This is one set of panels and the ones following are the other virgin saints and I think they look different.

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Following are the apostles in two sets of three.

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This is the 2nd set, minus St Andrew.

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4 comments

  1. How beautiful! I love the second photo, showing the rest of the chancel and the window behind. The paintings are lovely, even though they might not show amazing skill – they are quite nice in their simplicity!

  2. Fascinating and yes, definitely more than one artist. The style of the better ones reminds me of the people featured on the Rous Roll, the ladies’ hair especially.

    1. Had a quick look at the Rous Roll and yes there is a similarity in the hair and also the shape of the figures. I wonder if the painters had seem any of the work or maybe it was the style of the times to paint female figures that way……..a very interesting thought 🙂

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