22: The Lectern in St Swithun’s Church

This beautiful brass lectern is inscribed to show that it was presented to the church in 1909 by Mr Frederick Stovold Stenning, on Easter Day 1909 ‘In thankful remembrance of many blessings’.


Mr Stenning gave a fine pedestal with a soaring eagle figure, designed to hold the Bible. The eagle soars up to the heavens, linking earth and heaven. It is also the symbol of St John the Evangelist, so the choice of an eagle is highly significant.

During May 1915, this notice appeared in the Parish Magazine:

‘It has been remarked to me that the Lectern, owing to the steep slope of the eagle wings, does not conduce to the audible reading of lessons. This defect has now been remedied by the kindness of Mr Wardroper, who has presented an adjustable brass desk upon which the Bible now rests, instead of directly upon the eagles’ wings. The effect of this is that the reader’s voice now travels in a practically straight line down the Church, instead of being, to a great extent, lost in the pages of the Bible.’

The timing of this extra fitting to the eagle is interesting. It is one example of the Home Front carrying on valiantly, whilst the battles of the Great War were taking place. Even by May 1915, casualties from this parish were recorded.