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



24 May, 1450

Jack Cade's rebellion begins

Cade, an Irish soldier, led men from Kent, Surrey, Sussex,, and Middlesex against Henry VI

Before this king came of age, England was ruled by a regency under his uncle, John of Gaunt



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