Monday, July 9, 2018

Ripple, Worcestershire

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

St Mary’s church, Ripple, has an impressive set of misericords, those medieval fold-up seats that have a ledge that protrudes when in the folded position, enabling tired monks or canons to lean while standing to say, or sing, the office. Twelve of them illustrate the labours of the months, but my photograph above shows one of the others, a rather splendid sun. It’s quite unusual for a parish church in a small village to have carved misericords like these, but Ripple church is quite surprisingly large. No doubt this is because it was in the Middle Ages a possession of the cathedral-priory of Worcester.

The carvings on the seats – vigorous and here quite deeply chiselled – are not the sort of great sculpture that the cathedral authorities would have used to adorn the walls and vaults of their great ‘mother church’ in Worcester. In contrast, they are typical of the vernacular work that one finds on misericords, and more than good enough for a monk to rest his bottom on, and for us to admire when in this summer’s searing heat we take refuge in a shady church, for the peace and the cool.

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I have put a couple of other misericords from Ripple on my Instagram page @philipbuildings 

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