HENLEY-on-THAMES, Oxfordshire – St Mary. 

Rood screen as War Memorial 1920

At St Mary, Henley, the screen follows the basic pattern of those in Cornwall. There are however some differences when compared with St Columb Major, for example. First of all the lower part of the screen, where the chancel wall would otherwise be, is not solid but has attractive filigree carving in panels across it. The mullions, dividing each side into two units do not become fan shaped at the top, and furthermore there is no sub-division of the lights of the screen. The in-filling tracery at the tops of the lights is much more freely structured than if it were dependent on sub-dividing mullions: the effect is of an arch shape made by the filigree work, as opposed to by the structure. It is an effective variant on the mediaeval concept. The horizontal carving is both luxuriant and at the same time delicate. The bands are much thicker than those at St Columb Major, giving the structure considerable presence in a large building. The figures are located at the top of the screen in the traditional way, on a podium decorated in a manner complementary to the rest of the screen.

The design includes a memorial panel and clergy stall. The screen is particularly fine in the delicate design and detail of the tracery, and although substantial in size, it is designed so that the view to the sanctuary is not impeded.

The craft work was carried out by Messrs Dart and Francis at a cost to the parish of nearly £1000.

(Source: Dart and Francis archives, now destroyed.)

The illustration of the screen is taken from Examples of Modern Architecture no. 9 (1924).