Created from quarter cut stout English oak, this beautiful altar table with twisted candlesticks made for St Leonard’s Church in Bengeo, Hertfordshire, makes reference in its design to both the church architecture and to the legend of its namesake.
St Leonard is the patron saint of prisoners and pregnant women. He is represented in art as a figure of hope, calling people to freedom, enlightenment and a new beginning: saving them from the prison of despair. In one artistic image featuring St Leonard, beams of light are seen cascading through the bars of a prison window, through which the C5th saint called people to a new life.
The new altar created by Wheathills and funded by the church community, makes a conscious reference to the design of the original church roof interior which was built by C11th Norman shipbuilders and takes the shape of a ship’s hull. The curved open bar design of the altar pedestal is also a fitting reference to the metaphorical prison bars from which St Leonard’s followers must escape in order to begin a new life.
The curved design to the candlesticks symbolises the yearning for new life and freedom in Christ.
Wheathills’s craftsmanship, combined with the efforts of the Bengeo community, has produced an inspired and lasting legacy for future generations in this new church furniture.