Medieval pulpits

Quite a good number of medieval pulpits survive in English parish churches. I suppose that is not surprising really given that this was an element of medieval church furnishing that wasn’t controversial to the reformers. Here are just a selection of fifteenth century pulpits from as far separated as Norfolk, Gloucestershire and Somerset. They are all of the wineglass type, where the platform is supported on a coved central shaft. They are perhaps not the finest selection, but they represent the general type in both wood and stone.

South Creake, Norfolk

South Creake, Norfolk. A tracered pulpit, with significant remains of polychromy.

South Creake, Norfolk

North Cerney, Gloucestershire
North Cerney, Gloucestershire. There are a good number of stone wineglass pulpits in the Cotswolds. All are pretty similar, with traceried panels. The second example is at Chedworth, a few miles away from North Cerney.

Chedworth, Gloucestershire
Chedworth, Gloucestershire

East Hagbourne, Berkshire
East Hagbourne, Berkshire. This late example has been altered in the nineteenth century.

Long Sutton, Somerset
Long Sutton, Somerset. A magnificent tall pulpit, all of a piece with the rood and parclose screens. The sides of the pulpit are decorated with polychromed tabernacle work. The original figures have been lost and replaced with the present nineteenth century apostles.

Long Sutton, Somerset

4 thoughts on “Medieval pulpits

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  1. I don't know what others might think, but I believe them to be excellent. I am going to copy the photos as the son of my sacristan is a superb custom carpenter and cabinet maker. Perhaps I can persuade him to to be inspired.Very good post. It makes me wish I were back in England again.


  2. Emoting from the pulpit was evidently not big in the late medieval English church. I would be taking my life in my hands just trying to get in to the South Creake pulpit. It is wonderful, isn't it? Is it safe for regular use, or is there a weight restriction? A lovely selection, thank you.Roger


  3. Ah if only such glories were copied more frequently father. Roger, I don't know about a weight restrictions, by two year old son tested the steps and nothing else. A Facebook friend does recall seeing a former parish priest of South Creake falling from the pulpit.


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