The St Chad’s Cross and Cross of Nails

Processional Cross made by Percy Cox, 1985 (image courtesy of Royal Leamington Spa DFAS)
Processional Cross made by Percy Cox, 1985
(image courtesy of Royal Leamington Spa DFAS)

On the wall, above the pulpit, there is a naively carved wooden St Chad’s Cross with a Cross of Nails mounted on it. This was made and given by parishioner, Percy Cox, as was the processional cross in 1985.

St Chad of Mercia was a 7th century anglo-saxon abbot, known as the Apostle of the Midlands. The St Chad’s Cross is featured in the crest of both the Bishop of Coventry and of Lichfield Diocese.

Since World War II, the Cross of Nails has become a worldwide symbol of reconciliation. The original cross was made of three nails from the roof trusses of Coventry Cathedral, retrieved in November 1940, after German incendiary bombs and fire had destroyed the building.

The Community of the Cross of Nails is a network of over 200 churches, charities, peace-building centres, educational and training organisations, inspired by Coventry’s story of destruction, rebuilding and renewal. (for more information visit coventrycathedral.org.uk)


The altar frontals and vestment chest

Vestment chest

In the north west corner of the nave a large oak panelled chest, with a hinged lid, is used to store the altar frontals. It was given by Lady Viola Waller in 1951 in memory of her husband Sir Wathen Waller.

The altar frontals

There are four altar frontals in the four liturgical colours, together with chalice veils and burses and pulpit falls:

  • Violet – Penitence
    A purple brocade altar frontal was given by Lady Viola, along with the vestment chest. Violet is the colour of penitence and is used during the seasons of Advent (4 weeks before Christmas) and Lent (40 days before Easter)
  • White – Festival
    The ‘white’ frontal (which is actually cream) was made and given by Mrs Doreen Wright, the daughter-in-law of Arthur and Daisy Wright of Wootton Court. Some of the silk used was from the gown that Daisy Wright had worn when she was presented to Queen Victoria. White is used on festivals and seasons such as Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascensiontide, Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day and on some saints’ days.
  • Red – Fire and Blood
    A crimson and gold damask altar frontal was given by Lady Viola. Red is used at Whitsuntide (Pentecost), to remind of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, like tongues of flame (Acts 2, v.1-11), and on festivals of martyrs.
  • Green – Nature
    The green and blue brocade altar frontal was also given by Lady Viola. Green is used during the period between the seasons of Epiphany and Lent, and for the season of Sundays after Trinity, which last for about half the year.

All of the frontals were restored by Stratford-upon-Avon DFAS volunteers in 2010.

Benefactors, Furnishings

The Book of Benefactors & Victorian Lectern

The Victorian Lectern (or Litany Desk) (Image courtesy of Royal Leamington Spa DFAS)
The Victorian Lectern (or Litany Desk)
(Image courtesy of Royal Leamington Spa DFAS)

The Book of Benefactors was originally compiled in 2000 and continues to be updated with gifts and bequests, including the most recent 2014 Bell Restoration Appeal.

It records, “…with immense gratitude, the names of those who, over and above routine giving, have supported appeals for the upkeep and embellishment of our church.” and the first entry records The ‘Ancient Bell’, circa 1360.

Having been compiled retrospectively, it cannot be a definitive list of donations, especially over the earliest centuries of the church’s existence, but every effort has been made to include as many gifts as possible.

It is on permanent public display on the Victorian lectern (or litany desk) in the sanctuary. This double-sloped desk is in the same style as the choir stalls and it stood, for many years, at the front of the chancel on the north side (opposite the pulpit). It was moved in 2002 when the dais was built and it was no longer practical in that position.



The fonts

Photo © John Salmon (cc-by-sa2.0)
Photo © John Salmon (cc-by-sa2.0)

The font was replaced in 1845 by a gift from Anne Amelia Colvile, a cousin of the incumbent at the time, Rev Frederick Leigh Colvile. The old font, which dates back to the 12th Century, remains outside the church, to the right of the porch (pictured above).

The ‘new’ font is based on the ancient font at St Andrew’s Church, Ufford and was originally positioned at the base of the tower, approximately where the vestibule to the kitchen and toilet is today (image below left, taken from the chancel looking west, shows it in its original position in the 1940s).

Photograph by C H Hampson, Kenilworth, 1943-44 (National Survey of Churches) WCRO Ref: DR 0196/28