Ludlow Palmers
helping to conserve the fabric and treasures of St Laurence's
Chancel Roof

The Chancel roof has a shallow pitch in keeping with the period of its construction. The five bays are divided by tie beams on moulded arch braces with kingposts supporting the ridge beams. Each bay has eight main panels each divided into a further four except the westernmost which has six. This is because the roof follows the rhythm of the three C15 easternmost bays and the space available within the 1199 plan was insufficient for two more full bays. The colour scheme is C19 based on fragmentary evidence of the original.

Many of the roof's intersections are embellished with carved bosses. Along the ridge and at the bases of the arches these are angels from which this sort of arrangement can be known as an ‘angel choir’. Many of the others are of heraldic significance although some interpretative work needs yet to be done.

In the bay nearest the east window the central bosses on each side are a griffin, the emblem of Edward III, the ancestor of both the Houses of Lancaster and York and a ‘sun in splendour’ of the House of York.

The centres of the four panels nearest the ridge have the symbols of the Evangelists: an angel for Matthew; a winged lion for Mark; a bull for Luke and an eagle for John.

The centres of the other panels have heraldic devices: a chained swan of Henry V; an eagle of John of Gaunt; a garlanded rose of Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI's wife; and a white rose of Richard of York.

In the second bay one can see the chained antelope of Henry VI; the white lion couchant of March; a falcon with a rose of Richard Duke of York; and a man with a scroll whose identity is not known.

The bosses in the next bay include a bishop — possibly Thomas Spofford, Bishop of Hereford — and a queen, probably Margaret of Anjou. There is also a falcon with a girl's face, a symbol used by the House of York.

The next bay includes a king, presumably Henry VI and a panther's head, one of his emblems. To balance these there are also a white rose of York.

The three bosses nearest the tower are roses and a falcon with a fetterlock, all emblems of the house of York.

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