The Petton Pulpit

Continuing Christopher Jobson’s series “Treasures of the Benefice” we have a fascinating post about the history of the carved wooden pulpit in Ss Raphael & Isidore Church, Petton.

The pulpit (Latin pulpitum) is a raised stand or platform for preachers in a Christian church. Traditionally a pulpit is raised well above the surrounding floor for audibility and visibility.  The pulpit on the north side of the chancel in Petton church is a fine piece of Jacobean oak that was formerly at Wrexham church.  The date 1623, two years before the end of the reign of James 1st, is in the carving, the ‘3’ being turned the wrong way round.  In the eighteenth century, double-decker and triple-decker pulpits were often introduced. The three levels of lecterns were intended to show the relative importance of the readings delivered there. The bottom tier was for the parish clerk, the middle was the reading desk for the minister, and the top tier was reserved for the delivery of the sermon.  Most of the two lower lecterns were removed in the nineteenth century as the influence of the Oxford Movement spread. This may have happened at Petton but the sounding board (tester) above it has survived.

Christopher Jobson

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