Thursday, 31 July 2008

Elevation Squints in screens


Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire, originally uploaded by Vitrearum.

One of the things I sort of obsessively look for and photograph in churches are elevation squints. These little openings can often be seen cut into the dado of medieval screens and were created to allow the faithful kneeling in front of the screen a glimpse of the Elevation of the Host taking place at the altar beyond.
Lyons Bibliotheque Municipale ms 517, fol 8r
There are loads of them about and they are of all shapes and sizes. Sometime they are crudely cut like arrowslits in a castle wall, sometimes care has been taken to make them blend in stylistically with the screenwork. They are for the most part amateur affairs and were very probably cut by the faithful themselves.

Below are some examples.
Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire:
Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire

Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire

Woodeaton, Oxfordshire:
Woodeaton, Oxfordshire

Cassington, Oxfordshire
Cassington, Oxfordshire

Lawrence Lew OP, has a wonderful view through the squint at Cassington:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/435470937

Martin Beek has captured an elevation squint in use at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfordshire_church_photos/1048424482

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