Model Parish Church   PEWS - SEATING FOR THE LAITY
Click to go back to  
the Church Diagram 
Click to go back  
to the Church View
From about 1400 until the 1530, seating arrangements in the churches became more prone to use pews.  Previously the naves had been open spaces where the lay populace moved about, invariably standing for services.  Thus when seating began, it was usual to construct benches only for center of the nave, leaving considerable space in front of the chancel screen for the nave altars, the pulpit, and performance of morality and mystery plays. Like the misericords of the 14th century, the elaborately carved pews often incorporated fanciful beasts and human caricatures as well as images of saints. Towards 1500, series of the sacraments or the seven deadly sins, as in Wigginhall St. Germans, appeared.  (See J. Charles Cox, Bench-Ends in English Churches, New York, 1916). 

                           19a Wigginhall - St. Germans (Norfolk), nave pews about 1500.  
                           19b Wigginhall - St. Germans nave pew, detail of lust  
                           19c Dennington (Suffolk) Church of St. Mary, pews, 15th cent.