Misericords of St Laurence – Part VI

The Parish Church in Ludlow is famous for its 15th century misericords in the chancel stalls. These ignored carvings are found underneath choir stall seats and are mostly found in areas of the country whose wealth came from the medieval wool trade. The largest collection is housed at Salisbury Cathedral (106) compared to Hereford Cathedral (40) and the 28 intricately carved designs here in Ludlow.

Finally I have managed to get some decent photos of them all, so let me introduce you to them:

South Side 11 – 15

S11: This is another famous misericord showing a drunken tapster drawing wine from a cask while holding the bung in his left hand. It shows the trusted servant who abuses his trust and was a well-known moral tale about a monk who grew addicted to the wine and ale under his charge.


S12: This one appears to be a celebration of the wine barrel, but is likely to be a homily on the perils of drink. The detail is exquisite – the diamond-shaped purses, the brass pots and jugs and the barrels with the wooden hoops.


S13: The figure here is either a pupil or schoolmaster at the school run by the Palmers Guild, which later became the Grammar School in Ludlow. The hooded masks at either side are puzzling. One male the other female which may indicate parents.


S14: Plain

S15: This appears to have been reconstructed from fragments and attached to a new seat, perhaps around the church’s restoration in 1860. The centre corbel is almost intact with a finely carved rose and fetterlock – an obvious Yorkist badge – by the same carver as N15. The single twisted ring may have been part of a garland of flowers representing York’s Garland which was too damaged to salvage.


Source of text: Historic Ludlow ” The Misericords and Choir Stalls” by Peter Klein (1986)

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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.

17 thoughts on “Misericords of St Laurence – Part VI”

    1. They do rather. I was always amused at parent meetings how often the parents took absolutely no responsibility for the way their little darlings behaved!

  1. I like the first two! However, I am living proof of the lack of efficacy of anti-drink education. I got 100% and came top in the whole of the U.K. in the Band of Hope Temperance exam when I was 10. Didn’t really work – I am certainly partial to the occasional (ahem) glass of wine, though I never find myself in the state of your wee monk at the top. Well, not these days anyhow…..

    1. Heehee… yes the first one is a beauty! I have to agree with you about a glass of wine. We’ll quietly forget about the other times…

  2. Fascinating Jude – the carvings are exquisite! I must pay close attention to the first one – I’m drinking a glass of wine as I type this (but it is Friday night here and Monsieur LC is glued to the footy on tv!)

  3. I shouldn’t pick favourites really, but the drunken monk has to be the best one here, not least because (like me) he loves his wine!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. They both appear to have worn cowls – so difficult to tell males from females unless the females have those hideous headdresses.

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