Misericords for medieval church

A Herefordshire church is hosting a medieval celebration to mark the installation of its second misericord or "mercy seat".

Published 18 March 2013

In medieval times, misericords or "mercy seats" offered comfort to deans, priests and monks when having to stand for long periods during services.

They were also a form of generating income as the carving could be sponsored to commemorate someone or some special event.

Three years ago, St Mary Magdalene in the village of Leintwardine decided to revive the traditional tip up carved seat and had one made to commemorate Flossie, the landlady of the last parlour pub in the country, The Sun Inn.

Now another one is being made up, this time honouring a local butcher.

The celebrations on Easter Monday will take on a distinctly medieval flavour, with a baron of beef roasting in the churchyard, barrels of beer, medieval band Fleur de Lys leading a procession around the village with trumpets, and a goose fair.

Most church misericords were carved in medieval times so modern ones are almost unheard of. The Leintwardine ones will be placed on the north choir stalls. Another four have been commissioned to complete the set and are expected to be in place in the next five years.

The south side choir stalls already have a set of medieval misericords, believed to have been rescued from nearby Wigmore Abbey at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.

Frank Jones, who is organising events celebrations to mark the installation said: "The first modern misericord of Flossie Lane has been a triumph with heaps of interest. This one is being done for Mr Douglas Griffiths, our local butcher, friend of the Prince of Wales, cricketer and pillar of local society."

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