Thursday, June 11, 2009

14th century altarpiece on display at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

A rare medieval altarpiece is to go on show in a cathedral in Suffolk. The 700-year-old screen will be placed behind the altar in the new Chapel of Transfiguration at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. The chapel and screen were consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Friday 5 June.

The 14th century screen depicts St Edmund, King Edward the Confessor, an unidentified bishop and an archbishop, possibly St Thomas Becket. The rare medieval church screen was discovered in a storeroom at Kingston Lacey, a National Trust property in Dorset, and is now on loan to the Cathedral.

Canon Michael Hampel, sub-dean of the cathedral, said: "This will be an exciting moment when an ancient altarpiece - with our local saint on it - is 'brought home' to Suffolk. We are deeply indebted to the National Trust for making this possible. People knelt and prayed in front of this work of art during the Black Death, Henry VIII's reign, the Great Fire of London and the coronation of Queen Victoria. Now it's back in use, right here in Bury St Edmunds."

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