Wednesday, 10 August 2011


The word "misericord" means "mercy". Misericords can be found in many old churches. If the seats in the choir stalls are folded upright, they appear as small ledges, to give the monks something to rest back on during very long services. Misericords are usually made of oak, often carved into wild and comical shapes - apparently just for fun!

Here are some from St. Laurence's church in Ludlow.

The bottom one of these is always a favourite: it is known as "The devil making off with an alewife". In the centre you can see one devil playing the bagpipes while another carries across his shoulder the unfortunate alewife (still with a pot in her hand), while on the right she is falling headlong naked into the mouth of hell. You wonder whether she was really some well-known local character who was notorious for giving short measure or some other offence!

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