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T HE EAGLE AND CHILD , the Elephant and Castle, the Angel, the Lion, the Stag and the Unicorn – not a list of public houses located in and around Manchester, but some of the misericords in Manchester Cathedral. Misericords, those carved images found under the choir stalls, offer glances of the ordinary, the real, the imagined, and the fantastic. They highlight hidden worlds and tell tales from the edge; they are the wooden equivalent of the marginalia in illuminated manuscripts. This chapter offers

in Manchester Cathedral
A history of the Collegiate Church and Cathedral, 1421 to the present
Editor: Jeremy Gregory

Founded in 1421, the Collegiate Church of Manchester, which became a cathedral in 1847, is of outstanding historical and architectural importance. But until now it has not been the subject of a comprehensive study. Appearing on the 600th anniversary of the Cathedral’s inception by Henry V, this book explores the building’s past and its place at the heart of the world's first industrial city, touching on everything from architecture and music to misericords and stained glass. Written by a team of renowned experts and beautifully illustrated with more than 100 photographs, this history of the ‘Collegiate Church’ is at the same time a history of the English church in miniature.

Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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with some animals and heads. Of the bench ends, that of the warden’s stall incorporates a carved rendition of the Lathom Legend, with an eagle in its nest containing a baby wearing a flowing robe. The Lathom arms are said to have been adopted by the Stanleys when an alliance was formed with the family in 1385. Two more renditions of the eagle and child crest appear on the stall, one on a handrest, the other on a misericord. The Manchester stalls have been associated with examples in Yorkshire, particularly

in Manchester Cathedral
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From prehistoric monument to petrified ‘book’
Michelle P. Brown

crucified Christ, who is ensnared by serpentine coils – which nonetheless sprout the shoots of new life. The conflation of lion and serpent is not, however, commonly encountered in early medieval art. They form a hybrid, along with the goat’s head, in the chimera of classical Greek and Roman art and reappear, separate but locked in combat, in subsequent Romanesque and Gothic art (for example, on an English crozier of around 1200, on a twelfth-century capital at Chauvigny in Poitou-Charente and a door-knocker in Dresden, on a Gothic misericord in

in Aspects of knowledge
Cary Howie

for criticism, to suspend the critical in the moment of attention. It might even take the form of an invitation to fit ourselves more fully to our objects, as when Carolyn Dinshaw asks, in response to scholarly dismissals of the foliate faces found in many English medieval churches (including, perhaps most famously, Norwich Cathedral), “But why not linger on these leafy visages a bit longer? They often appear, after all, in places where people rest: they are carved on armrests and on the ends of benches, and on misericords providing relief for the weary monk.” 14

in Transfiguring medievalism
Brian Sudlow

here. Perhaps Dowson recognises this when, at the end of ‘Breton Afternoon’, he prays: ‘Mother of God, O Misericord, look down in pity on us / The weak and blind who stand in your light and wreak ourselves such ill.’ 20 One theme running through the poems of the Catholic decadents is their apparently easy reliance on the ministry of the Church to save the sinner. Though such willingness to turn to the Church might be regarded cynically, it can also be considered as a confession of the inadequacy of the individual before the cosmic dilemmas

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
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visitors, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, came chiefly to see the richly carved choir stalls and misericords. 57 Expectations that the Fleming and Chetham statues might encourage the commissioning of other impressive memorials were not to be realized. The early 1870s saw an excited debate over whether a city of the rank of Manchester ought to build a new cathedral, either by integrating the existing church into the new building or, even more ambitiously, by replacing it with an entirely new one. 58 Bishop Fraser was

in Manchester Cathedral

part of the choir; the misericords on the south side of the choir stalls (which he paid for) carry the Stanley emblems of the eagle and child, and the triskelion, the three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man, given to the Stanleys by Henry IV. Hugh Ashton, who became a fellow of the College in 1492, became Lady Margaret’s receiver-general in 1502 and comptroller of her household in 1508. He was a benefactor of her college of St John’s in Cambridge, where he endowed four fellowships and four scholarships for men

in Manchester Cathedral
Paul Edmondson

favour of plain, black cassocks or robes. All of these changes helped to de-emphasise the visual and ensured that the spoken word was central to people’s experience of and engagement with the worship. Similar kinds of destruction occurred at Holy Trinity Church, though the medieval mercy-seats, known as misericords, added by the College from the early-to-mid-1400s, survived. The weirdness of their black oak

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place