Grinling Gibbons, How's that for a name that rolls off the tongue.

pencil sketch
Grinling Gibbons - A Pencil sketch of a wood carving on a misericord in Cartmel Priory Church, Cumbria

One afternoon when we were driving back to base after a few days in that that patch of "gods own country", the English Lake District, Hilary (SWMBO) who was thumbing through a guide book, mentioned that there was a church coming up that had a Saxon cross in the graveyard.
We made a detour and checked it out.  There was indeed a Saxon cross in the churchyard, from the early days of Christianity in the region.  The cross has pagan as well as christian motifs carved on it.

Interesting as that was, I discovered inside the church some curious brackets that supported the hinged seats of the pews.   They were carved out of oak by a master carver.
Each carving was totally unique with quirky and inventive details. Definitely not run of the mill stuff.
With the help of the guide book and a few things in the church we learned that the carver's name was Grinling Gibbons.  Very little is known about him, but he was one of the many journeymen/craftsmen that travelled around Europe in the middle ages, creating works of art that can still leave us in awe at their incredible skills and sheer artistic ability.

I get the impression when looking at this sketch which is a bit laboured, that old Grinling knocked off the actual carving quicker than it took me to do the sketch.

Miserichord carved by Grinling Gibbons
The original photo that I copied when drawing the sketch.

If the word misericord has got you stumped, it describes a sort of shelf bracket that could be used to lean or partly sit on to relieve the misery of standing long hours during church services.

"The art of drawing which is of more real importance to the human race than that of writing... should be taught to every child just as writing is... " John Ruskin 1819-1900

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