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Before the Reformation in 1534 the chancel at Prescot was divided from the nave by a wooden screen placed across the chancel arch. This was surmounted by a Rood. ‘Rood' being a Saxon word for the Cross of Christ. It was the focal point of the church being a great crucifix and on either side, Mary and John. At Prescot the screen was removed by reformers about 1563. A replacement structure in black oak was erected in 1636 to support a small organ and this was destroyed by the Puritans in 1640's. A surviving drawing shows a later replacement screen of 6 circular pillars probably removed in 1879 when a lot refurbishment was carried out.
The present oak screen was erected in 1921 as a memorial to those who had fallen in WWI. Eight oak panels set into the back of the return stalls list those commemorated. The total cost was £941. 1s.4d. funded by Church and Bible Class collections and dedicated on St. George's Day, (23rd. April) 1921 by the Lord Bishop of Liverpool.
The inscription: “ TO THE ONLY WISE GOD OUR SAVIOUR, BE GLORY AND MAJESTY, DOMINION AND POWER, BOTH NOW AND EVER” (Jude,25) can be seen on the screen. The Cross or Holy Rood in the middle of the screen with crosslets on the 3 arms is attractively gilded and also the monogram IHS = the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus, can be clearly seen in the centre of the cross arms. Originally of plain oak the screen was gilded in 1965 and stained black with further gilding in 1998.
The function of today's screen at Prescot is to draw the eye and heart upwards and to lift the soul towards God.