X for XV century Misericords

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Event Type: General Blogging

Start Date: Tuesdays, recurring weekly

Description: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet.

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Woman with Coif
S4 – representing womanhood, possibly a mother and daughters

We are quite lucky in Ludlow to have a very impressive Parish Church – St Laurence, which is so big that it can be seen from miles around and is known as ‘The Cathedral of the Marches’. Now none of this has to do with the letter X, but inside the church you can find twenty eight misericords dating from the XV century.

Seated Man with Scroll
S13 – this could be a pupil or schoolmaster at the school run by the Palmers’ Guild in Ludlow.

Now I don’t propose to show you all 28, but here are a few of my favourites.

Owl with eagles
S5 – the owl in medieval times was a dark symbol. Here it is being mobbed by two birds looking inwards, possibly eagles.

St Laurence’s Church has twenty eight misericords in the choir stalls which are of a quality usually associated with great cathedrals such as Worcester or Gloucester.

Monster with female face
N2 – a Harpy (young woman’s head with the body and wings of a bat) with her supporters (bats) creatures of darkness and symbols of evil.

Carved on the underside of the hinged choir seats each misericord is fashioned from a piece of timber some 26 inches (660 mm) long, 12 inches (300 mm) deep and 6 inches (150 mm) thick.

falcon and scales
N13 – Falcon and Fetterlocks, the personal badge of Richard Duke of York (1411 – 1460)

The misericords have a wide variety of themes and with Ludlow then being a royal stronghold there is a royal influence shown in a number of misericords. Wikipedia

Prince of Wales Feathers
N8 – since the mid-16th century the three ostrich feathers have been the personal badge of the Prince of Wales.
S6 – Swan flanked by leaves, the badge of the Bohun family though without the crown collar.

The header misericord is N4 – a mermaid holding a mirror in her right hand, a comb missing from her left. Two dolphins flank her.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

36 thoughts on “X for XV century Misericords”

  1. They have endured the centuries very well Jude, marvellous artifacts indeed. And thanks to your sharp photos, we are all able to enjoy them in detail!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. I suppose they survive well (though there are some damaged ones) because they are UNDER the seat. Thanks Pete 🙂

    1. St Laurence is a fascinating church – so big for a small town, but obviously there was a lot of wealth around in the medieval period.

    1. Thanks M-R. I must get some shots of the rest of them – some didn’t come out all that well. It is an interesting church.

        1. And some of the history ? But that kinda research takes a lot of time; I’d be happy to think that one day you’ll do a post about it …

        2. If you click on the first link in the post you’ll find another post of mine about it and a walk in Ludlow. The second link is from Wikipedia which tells you more about the church.

  2. Thanks for the wander around these interesting carvings, a very fascinating X…. I was totally stumped for X until yesterday, shall post later today!

      1. Well, X wasn’t easy for my travel themed A to Zs!! But I don’t think either of us are the sort to give in!

  3. A clever approach to the difficulty of ‘X’! And beautiful carvings, well-served by your photos. I know it can be hard to get that level of sharpness without the interference of gleam.

    (A late start to see what Warsaw offers today. I’m leaving the twins to their grandfather.)

    1. These were the better shots, and even then I have applied an art effect. I shall have another go at getting the rest of them!

  4. What lovely carvings Jude, and a clever idea for the ‘X’ challenge…very difficult that one! 🙂

    1. Cheating a little – but I am trying to keep the whole challenge on an architectural theme, and don’t have any X buildings!

      1. Well, you are doing a great job and I cheat all the time but I like to think of it as being inventive and thinking outside the box 😉

  5. I love and collect anything hand carved so this is just beautiful!

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