Project Description

The Rood Screen

Our beautiful Rood Screen graces the front of the Sanctuary and is a stunning piece of art work that honours the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cuthbert Pugin designed St John’s rood screen. It was made by Hardman Powell & Co and was unveiled in October 1905. St John’s has the only examples at Bath of work by a member of the Pugin family.

The framework is made of “Besteel” – the name is stamped on one of the central upright supports – and the entire screen is coated with bituminous paint. The figures are said to have been made in Oberammergau.

For restoration, all surfaces were cleaned with de-ionised water and lightly coated with mineral wax to protect from moisture and create a low sheen. The framework and figures were found to be in excellent condition. None of the black paint needed to be repainted.

The only damage was to a gilded leaf at the top of the 3rd pillar, which was out of alignment and had been attached with adhesive. It was reattached correctly aligned, using an appropriate method.

Re-gilding was carried out using gold leaf on oil based size. The screen was restored in place; nothing was removed from it for restoration. As far as is known, it had not received any maintenance or redecoration since its installation.

Restoration was carried out in 2017, from the end of April to the beginning of June, by Dorothea Restorations Ltd, of Bristol. It could not be done in the winter because of the risk of condensation on the metal surface which would have prevented the gold leaf adhering properly. Daily Mass was transferred to the parish hall but the church was open during weekdays. Parishioners and visitors enjoyed admiring the work and complimenting the gilders.

The cost of restoration was met from a generous donation by Miss Veronica Macmillan, a lifelong parishioner.

The screen is described fully in a booklet, “St John’s Rood Screen – your questions answered” by Dr Amina Wright.