Manchester's Medieval zoo!

This workshop allows pupils to get up close to the medieval wood carvings in order to consider the symbolism that lies behind them.

The medieval misericords were carved by sixteenth-century craftsmen and are thought to be some of the finest in Europe. The name comes from the Latin word for pity, 'misericordia', since out of pity for weary monks during long services, the seats have a ledge to give support to those leaning up against them. Hidden on the underside of these seats are carvings of medieval tales and legends.


Give your pupils the opportunity to:

  • Explore the Misericords looking for our medieval zoo; griffins, lions, elephants, monkeys, foxes, dragons, bears and much more!
  • Learn about the symbolism of the real animals and 'fantastic creatures' to be found on the misericords using drama and discussion - discover how the rabbit got his revenge and why you shouldn't look at a cockatrice!
  • Consider the hidden meanings of the misericords and their purpose in the Church (your group may like to sing or meditate in the Choir stalls too - please ask if you are interested).
  • Design their own mythical beast or misericord.

KEY STAGE: 1-3 - adapted appropriately for each age group
CURRICULUM LINKS: English, History, RE, Art
VENUE: Cathedral
DURATION: 60 minutes
MAXIMUM NUMBER: 30
COST PER PUPIL: £2