Friday, 13 September 2013

Misericords in Stratford

There are certain places in churches where the builders seem to be given a bit of a free hand in the design, often result in humerous, rude and distinctly pagan carvings. One of these places that I see from time to time is in the misericords. A misericord is a little fold up seat in the choir stalls in churches which had the added advantage that when it was in the upright position, there was a small ledge that the standing monk could rest on and still look like he was standing. Underneath they are often carved with some of the most entertaining images to be found in churches. 

These 15th century misericords are in Holy Trinity church in Stratford upon Avon, only a few yards away from where William Shakespeare and his family lie. He must have seen these often in his life - maybe some of the carry on in them inspired little bits of his plays.

 This is not a misericord but an angel on the corner of the choir stalls. She doesn't seem to be particularly impressed by the goings on.

One of these people has lost their head, judging by the colour of the wood underneath, it happened centuries ago.


Michael (Light-In-A-Box) said...

Some strange looking Misericords for sure, some you would not expect to be in a church. Amazing carvings though, I really like the owl! : )

The Glebe Blog said...

You certainly seek out the unusual Sandy. Love these little gems.

Lyn said...

They are so beautiful, some strange looking one's and I like the owl one the best.

Louise said...

very interesting - I hadn't heard of these before but the carvings are great.

Sandy's witterings said...

Michael, These will predate your churches by a few hundred years I would think - prehaps religion has lost it's sense of fun in the interim.

Jim, these things are little gems, at least for this blogger. Once you know they're there, they're surprisingly common. They've appeared on m blog on a few occasions - Hexham Abbey and Dunblane Cathedral I think and I know for a fact that Carlisle Cathedral has some, though I haven't seen them.

Lyn, It's the fighting couple pulling each others' hair that gets my vote - they seem quite happy by their expression (not sure what this says about me, making this my favorite!)

Louise, One of the best bits in an old church - it often pays to look under the seats.

Pam said...

Yes,somehow I doubt any of our churches on this side of the pond have any whimsy in them. Early Americans were a very serious bunch.

Sandy's witterings said...

Pam, probably some early American immigration was caused by a desire to escape such whimsy (and other clerical issues)