LECTERN (through O. Fr. leilrun, from Late Lat. leclrum, or leclrinum, legere, to read; the French equivalent is lairing Ital. leggio; Ger. Lesepult), in the furniture of certain Christian churches, a reading-desk, used more especially for the reading of the lessons and in the Anglican Church practically confined to that purpose. In the early Christian Church this was done from the ambo (q.v.), but in the 15th century, when the books were often of great size, it became necessary to provide a lectern to hold them. These were either in wood or metal, and many fine examples still exist; one at Detling in wood, in which there are shelves on all four sides to hold books, is perhaps the most elaborate. Brass lecterns, as in the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, are common; in the usual type the book is supported on the outspread wings of an eagle or pelican, which is raised on a moulded stem, carried on three projecting ledges or feet with lions on them. In the example in Norwich cathedral, the pelican supporting the book stands on a rock enclosed with a rich cresting of Gothic tabernacle work; the central stem or pillar, on which this rests, is supported by miniature projecting buttresses, standing on a moulded base with lions on it.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)