Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Bench End Definition

History and Architecture

Bench End

Bench end is the term usually applied to the wooden end panel of a church pew. In many cases these bench ends were highly decorated with carvings, ranging from religious symbols to heraldic shields, to political lampoons (see Brent Knoll in Somerset). Bench ends were frequently capped by a carved wooden finial known as a 'poppy-head', though the design might be anything from grotesque beasts to saints (or, indeed, a likeness of a poppy head!).

Related: Poppy Head   Grotesque  




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This Chancellor of England was named Archbishop of Canterbury by Richard II, who then banished him. He returned when Henry IV deposed Richard.



23 May, 1208

Pope Innocent III places England under interdict (no church services)

King John strikes back by seizing all church property, though loyal clergy were allowed to buy their property back

This queen was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon



Passionate about British Heritage!