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ROOD (O.E. rid, a stick, another form of " rod," O.E. rodd, possibly cognate with Lat. r-udis, a staff), properly a rod or pole, and so used as the name of a surface measure of land. The rood varies locally but is generally taken as = 40 square rods, poles or perches; 4 roods = i acre. The term was, however, particularly applied, in O.E., to a gallows or cross, especially to the Holy Cross on which Christ was crucified, the sense in which the word survives. A crucifix, often accompanied by figures of St John and the Virgin Mary, was usually placed in churches above the screen, hence known as " rood screen " (see SCREEN), which divides the chancel or the choir from the nave. The rood was carried either on a transverse beam, the " rood beam," or by a gallery, the " rood loft." Such a gallery was also used as a place from which to read portions of the service (see JUBE). It was reached by the " rood stair," a small winding stair or " vice." In English churches these stairs generally run up in a small turret in the wall at the west end of the chancel; often this also leads out on to the roof. On the continent of Europe they often lead out of the interior of the church and are enclosed with tracery, as at Rouen or Strassburg. " Rood stairs " remain in many English churches where the rood loft has been destroyed. A fine example of a rood loft is at Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire. The screen might be separate from the rood beam or rood loft. The general construction of wooden screens is close panelling beneath, on which stands screen- work composed of slender turned balusters or regular wooden mullions, supporting tracery more or less rich with cornices, crestings, etc., and often painted in brilliant colours and gilded. The central tower of a church over the intersection of the nave and chancel with the transepts is sometimes called the " rood tower "; an example is that at Notre Dame at Paris. In England rood lofts do not appear to have been introduced before the 14th century, and were not common till the isth. The "roods" themselves were not The simplest form is the " flat roof " consisting of horizontal wood joists laid from wall to wall as in floor construction. The roof must not be quite flat, for a slight fall is necessary in its upper surface to allow water to drain away into gutters placed at convenient points. The joists are covered with a waterproof material such as asphalt, lead, zinc or copper, the three last materials being usually laid upon boarding, which stiffens the structure and forms a good surface to fix the weatherproof covering upon. Such roofs are not suitable for cold climates, for accumulations of snow might overburden the structure and would also cause the wet to penetrate through any small crevices and under flashings. With flat roofs the pressure exerted upon the supports is directly vertical.

" Lean-to," " shed," or " pent " roofs are practically developments of the flat roof, one end of the joists (which are now called " rafters ") being tipped up to form a decided slope, which enables slates, tiles, corrugated iron and other materials to be employed which cannot be used upon a " flat " roof.

Simple roofs in general use with a double slope are the " coupled rafter roofs," the rafters meeting at the highest point upon a horizontal ridge-piece which stiffens the framework and gives a level ridge-line. In some old roofs the rafters are connected without any intervening ridge-plate, with the result that after Half elevation; 25' o* span.

Sectional elevation on AA.

FIGS. I and 2. King-post Roof Truss.

disturbed in Henry VIII. 's reign, but were generally removed under Edward VI. and Elizabeth.

The legality of rood screens or rood lofts in the Church of England depends on the law of the Church with regard to images, i.e. " whether they do or do not, or will or will not, encourage or lead to idolatrous or superstitious worship in the place where they are, or are to be put " (Lindley, L. 7. in R. v. Bishop of London, 1889, 24 Q.B.D. 213, 237; see also St John Timberhill, Norwich, case, 1889 Prob. 71, and article IMAGE).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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