By Eluned Martin
Gwent County History Association Newsletter, No.6 (2001)
Introduction: A large proportion of the research so far carried out regarding the late medieval church and religion in Wales has concentrated its analysis on written sources. Consequently, little attention has been paid to the role of visual imagery in the form of rood screens, church furniture, wall paintings and stained glass. The congregation of the medieval church had direct access to these, unlike the scriptures for which they needed an interpreter, the priest. Further, little work has been done that considers the religious ideas and responses of the lower orders of medieval society; rather, the focus has so far been on the gentry and their interpretation of religious ideology and practice. Religious iconography directly provides the researcher with valuable insight into the significant elements of focus in medieval religion. It also provides an opportunity to consider the response evoked by the images depicted, in order that a greater understanding may be gained into the religious feeling experienced by the ordinary member of the congregation.