The Sanctuary

The High Altar was dedicated in 1937. The gilded riddle posts are dedicated to those who served in the Second World War. The angels surmounting the posts hold shields bearing the symbols of the four evangelists while the Paschal Lamb appears above the centre of the altar. The winged symbols of the four evangelists have a long and important history. The source of the convention is a passage from Ezekiel (Chapter 1 vv 5–14) where the prophet describes the same creatures surrounding the throne of God. Hence they are commonly known as the apocalyptic beasts and came from an early date to represent the four evangelists.

St Matthew appears as a winged man because his gospel opens with a detailed account of Christ’s genealogy.

St Mark’s attribute is a winged lion because his gospel opens with the voice crying in the wilderness – an allusion to the lion.

St Luke’s attribute is the winged ox because in his gospel he stresses the priesthood of Christ and the ox is symbolic of sacrifice. His gospel opens with the account of the sacrifice of the priest Zacharias.

St John the Evangelist’s attribute is the eagle, which of all birds was believed to fly closest to heaven. His gospel lifts us to God as though on the wings of a bird.

In the north wall a blocked up sanctuary doorway which was pierced in the 16th century led to the former vestry which is now the boiler house. The closed doorway provides a fitting framework for the Ikon which was presented to the church in 1981 by the then vicar, the Revd Hugh Wybrew. In the aumbry to the east of the sanctuary doorway are the Holy Oils. On the same wall, above the panelling, which dates from 1936, is a black marble memorial to the Revd John Day, the minister here from 1610 to 1622. His robes suggest Pinner Parish Church was experiencing a puritanical regime at that time.

The tracery of the five-light East window which is in the Perpendicular style, dates from the 15th century but the glass is Victorian and commemorates the incumbency of Thomas Burrow who died in 1861. The fine Jacobean altar rails were salvaged in the 19th century from Chestnut Cottage, the church’s nearest neighbour, after being used at St Anselm’s, Hatch End, were returned to Pinner in 1902 and placed in their present position in 1937. They date from the first half of the 17th century and have twisted ‘barley sugar’ balusters alternating with plainer columns. 

Hanging before the sanctuary is a 17th century Flemish lamp of hand pierced brass. On the south side of the High Altar are the seats for the celebrant and his ministers, the middle one coming from Westminster Abbey where it was used at the Coronation in 1953.

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