Quite unexpectedly, I’ve become quite enamored with the rather large collection of misericord slides; original images taken in numerous British churches and cathedrals (with a few from Belgium, France, Germany and Spain). Misericords are those hidden gems within church and cathedral architecture – the under-seat carvings of choir stalls (the lifting seat is the ‘misericord’).  Humorous, bawdy, fantastical, and dipping into myth and moral instruction – some of the carvings on these ‘undersides’ are downright bonkers:


‘Man Beating a Slug with a Pack on its Back’ (c.1520)

‘Mermaid Surrounded by Monsters’ (c.1520)

‘Ape with Urine Flask’ (c.1445)

‘Fox Being Hanged by Geese’ (c.1520)

‘Pig Playing Bagpipes’ (c.1508-22)




2 thoughts on “Misericords

  1. Thanks for the post. Misericords are wonderful things! And they provide an invaluable resource for thinking the mixing of the moral, sacred and profane in medieval culture. Would be keen to talk to you more about this about some point, and seeing what’s possible with the slide collection.

    • Apparently we used to have a course on them years ago – it’s such a full collection, the majority of which are original images. If anything should be digitialised in the future, it should be these.

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