Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Pew

A wooden seat, or bench. Medieval pews frequently had carved bench ends at each side, and these bench ends might be capped with decorative carved finials known as poppy-heads. Despite the name, poppy heads might be carved in many shapes, including animals, religious figures, humans, or foliage. The Elizabethan period, and in particular the Jacobean period that followed, saw the introduction of box pews, where the bench was enclosed by hinged doors, creating a wooden compartment.

The side walls of these box pews could be extremely high, so much so that it was difficult to see the people within! In some churches box pews were reserved for the wealthy, while the riff-raff had to sit on unadorned benches. Again, the doors and side walls of the box pews might be decorated with intricate carving, and the interiors of the pew carved with decorative pilaster strips.

Attraction search
in



National Trust

National Trust membership

National Trust membership

Free entry to National Trust properties throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus discounted admission to National Trust for Scotand properties.

Membership details

About the National Trust


HISTORY CORNER

Name the Historic attraction

Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



British History Quiz

This famous building, on the site of the notorious Newgate Prison, is the site of the Central Criminal Court



 Clue

This Day in British History

06 May, 1502

Sir William Tyrell executed

Tyrell was alledged to have confessed to the murder of the Princes in the Tower

Monarch Mayhem

He was married to Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen



 Clue

Passionate about British Heritage!