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The Rood Screen in Marston Church

Notes held at Bedfordshire Archives under reference CRT130Mar 16 record descriptions and opinions of the rood screen in Marston Moretaine Church.

Sir Stephen Glynne, author of ‘Church Notes’, visited Marston Moretaine on 6 February 1866. “The lower part of the rood screen remains but has been moved, perhaps questionably, to the South of the Chancel – it has a vine cornice and 4 compartments, coloured and gilt – has panelling and paintings of Prophets with inscribed scrolls, David, Isaiah, Daniel and Hosea.” 

Arthur Ransom in his series ‘Round the County’ printed in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent said on 10 May 1901: “Some very interesting remains on the original rood-screen still form a low division between nave and chancel on the south side. Four richly-illustrated panels (a fifth is kept in the rectory house), retaining the ancient colouring, show paintings of the Messianic prophets, with partially obliterated Latin inscriptions. The David panel has the words ‘Filius meus es…’ The Isaiah panel: ‘Ecce virgo concipiet et …’ The Daniel panel appears to make a reference to Daniel ix; among the words still legible are ‘hebdomades septuaginta’, The Hosea panel ‘Ero mors tua, o mors…’ The Jeremiah panel, which is preserved at the rectory house, has an inscription that appears to be borrowed from Jeremiah iii, 19-20. After the prophets name is a word that may be a contraction of ‘Patrem’, and then follow ‘vocabis me …dicit Dominus’. These screen fragments are exceptionally interesting both in their painting and in their carving.” 

The Victoria County History of Bedfordshire, 1912, states ‘Part of the rood screen, consisting of four lower panels, with restored paintings of David, Isaiah, Daniel and Hosea, separates the chancel from the nave’. 

Nicholas Pevsner, in ‘The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdonshire and Peterborough’ in 1968 records: ‘In the north aisle at the east end part of a screen dado with four painted prophets – the East Anglian type and as bad as most of them are there’.