Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Misericord Definition

History and Architecture

Misericord

The term misericord translates from the Latin as 'mercy seat', and that's precisely what it was; a small ledge, or seat, attached to the underside of a pew or choir seat, to provide a merciful and very welcome place for clergy to rest during long periods of standing during lengthy medieval sermons.

Misericords were often elaborately carved, and it is these carvings that make studying them so fascinating. The carvings might be of mythological creatures, religious symbols, grotesque beasts, Green Men, and a wide variety of other unusual and striking symbols.

Related: Choir   Grotesque  

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