Three-Decker Pulpits

After the Reformation, the introduction of Morning and Evening Prayer led to a number of changes in the interior arrangement of churches. Thus where there was already a pre-Reformation pulpit for preaching a homily, the provision of two more desks accommodated the clergyman or provided for reading of the lessons, and the lowest desk for the parish clerk, who led the responses of the congregation. These additions can be seen in a few churches, as at Salle (1: Norfolk), where the mediaeval pulpit is grouped with two 17th century desks.

More often, a homogeneous set was provided in the 176 or 18th century, as at Warham S Mary Magdalene (2: Norfolk) of 1800-1 and East Walton (3: Norfolk). Some examples feature really lofty pulpits and steep stairs, like St Martin's (4: Shropshire) of c. 1810.

In some cases a simple two-decker arrangement was adopted, with separate reading desk, though none can be so elaborate as the Strawberry Hill Gothic example of 1756 at Shobdon (5: Herefs).

 

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