Easter sepulchre. As part of the Easter liturgy, the blessed sacrament is removed from its usual place of reservation, and placed in an altar of repose, the so called Easter sepulchre. This is to represent the death of Christ, and the placing of his body in a tomb. The return of the sacrament to the high altar represents the resurrection of Christ.
In a modern-day Catholic church, this liturgy is still enacted; the sacrament is carried to the altar of repose at the end of the Mass on Maundy Thursday, and a vigil is kept over it through the night. The main church altar is stripped of all its furnishings, and no Mass is said on Good Friday. Then, on Holy Saturday evening, the host is reconsecrated, and the resurrection relived through the Mass.
The sepulchre is often found in the north wall of the chancel, a wide open space with a flat surface in an alcove. Sometimes, it forms part of a tombchest. Good examples are at Blythburgh, Badingham, Washbrook and East Bergholt. It might be that Christ's tomb itself was reconstructed, and the sacrament place in the tomb. However, many churches do not have Easter sepulchres, and it seems certain that in some cases the altar of repose was outside the church, which may explain the strange squints at Lound and Blundeston, intended to maintain a sacramental connection between the sepulchre outside and the altar inside. At Barningham, part of a moveable Easter sepulchre has survived.
The Easter liturgy was reintroduced into some Anglican parishes under the influence of the Oxford Movement in the late 19th century, and is still in use at Mendlesham and Ipswich St Bartholomew. An Anglican form of the liturgy was introduced in the 1980s, and is widely in use in Suffolk.