Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 19

Lads in plaid:


The approach of the holidays
has caused the following things to happen:


Ecclesiastical kink: Misericords
The perverted joys of wood carving

Stay with me, blog visitors. What may seem at first to be a boring subject takes a decidedly bawdy turn. Here goes.

Misericords are small carved ledges revealed when the seats of wooden choir stalls in a church are tipped up for standing. They were used by clergy to rest against while standing upright for long periods of time during church services. This was a bit of deception, since the user appeared to be standing, while in reality he was resting his buttocks on a shallow wooden shelf. The name comes from the Latin words for 'pity' and 'heart', and in English are often called “mercy seats”, since back in the day worship services lasted for hours and hours. It could take more than twenty minutes just to intone a Psalm. 

On December 10 last week, modern-day British wood carver Alistair Park* posted a blog entry about the “bawdy” subject matter of many of these ancient misericords. Based in Bristol, England, the esteemed Mr. Park wrote, “After 1841, when restorations were carried out in Bristol cathedral, there remained thirty misericords, but several were removed at that time. An 1888 document listing the medieval misericords (carved 1515-1526) which were in the cathedral before the restorations stated that three of them were too indecent to be exposed to view or even mentioned. Tradition has it that they were burned.”

*A link on Mr. Park’s blog leads the reader to another blog for wood carving enthusiasts: 
Robin Wood. I kid you not.

Of those that remain in Bristol, one has a carving of a naked man bent over, exposing his naked buttocks, penis and testicles in all their glory. Another shows a large cat clenching a man’s testicles in its teeth. How did they get away with this in a church? Well, the choir stalls were in a poorly lit area, and the “normal” position of the carved seat was “down,” making the misericord impossible to see, and when the seat was tipped up for standing, the occupant hid the misericord from view. Historians claim that these hidden misericords were carved by youthful apprentices, reserving the more prominent  areas for the master carvers. So much for what was going on in the minds of those apprentices.

If these remain, one can only imagine the subject matter of the three misericords that were removed and burned! Actually, we get a hint from some that exist to this day in the former (no bishop these days) cathedral in the village of Tréguier, France. I offer as evidence:

Another example, this time from St. Boltolph’s Church, Boston (Lincolnshire), England, shows a boy holding a book (thus a student) while being thrashed. His bare buttocks are exposed by a lifted shirttail, and his head rests in the lap of his teacher while three other male students look on. Carved in the 15th century. Hmmm...

For my blog readers who are fans of NPR’s Dinner Party Download*, I offer the subject of misericords as a superior alternative to their often tamer suggestions for cocktail party chit-chat. So hit the holiday circuit and get the conversations going!

*All their podcasts are archived.


  1. # 37
    Man your soup hot and love to share a cup coffee and maybe something else with you

  2. # 19
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  3. # 19
    Looks like two cool hot guys looking for some down to earth hot sex

  4. # 10
    I not into guys with muscles but those teats got me turn on

  5. A man two man thingJanuary 26, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    # 5
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  6. # 24
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