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Feb 21

English misericords

misericords_1
This week I delved into the strange and wondrous world of English misericords.
A colleague at work handed me the excellent book by Marshall Laird on the subject. To quote from the book’s inner page:

“Hidden beneath the tip-up seats of the choir stalls of many English churches and cathedrals are some of the most vivid images that have come down to us from the Middle Ages. Their originality of design, breadth of subject-matter and artistry render these misericords England’s finest surviving mediaeval wood carvings. These sculptures were normally out of sight, so the craftsmen felt free to carve everyday scenes and animals from their own lives as well as the monsters and mermaids that swarmed in their imagination, rather than the religious subjects one might expect.

Here are some more examples I found on the web. Fascinating stuff.

Misericord from inside at 'Boston Stump', Lincolnshire, UK. Or, to give the chruch it's full name, 'St Botolph's Church of the Parish of Boston'.

Misericord from inside at ‘Boston Stump’, Lincolnshire, UK. Or, to give the church it’s full name, ‘St Botolph’s Church of the Parish of Boston’.


'In this Ripon Cathedral misericord (1489-94)Samson is shown passing in front of the crenellated walls of Gaza as he carries off the pair of city gates, one gate under his arm, the other over his shoulder (referring to the episode in Judges 16).'

‘In this Ripon Cathedral misericord (1489-94)Samson is shown passing in front of the crenellated walls of Gaza as he carries off the pair of city gates, one gate under his arm, the other over his shoulder (referring to the episode in Judges 16).’


Wrestlers misericord at St Laurence, Ludlow, Shropshire, England.

Wrestlers misericord at St Laurence, Ludlow, Shropshire, England.


'Misericord of a mythical beast known as a wyvern'. (From Great Malvern Priory).

‘Misericord of a mythical beast known as a wyvern’. (From Great Malvern Priory).


Misericords were not confined to England. This face is from Bourg-en-Bresse cathedral in France.

Misericords were not confined to England. This face is from Bourg-en-Bresse cathedral in France.

1 comment

  1. gary

    Of all the churches and other buildings that have these I have never shown much interest, they must have taken hours of work, and in a lot of cases tell a story, very interesting thanks for sharing will pay more attention to detail in future.

    Gary

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