The back rows of the 19th century choir stalls contain 49 medieval tip-up seats known as ‘misericords’. They were carved in the mid 13th century and form one of the oldest surviving sets in England.
During Sir George Gilbert Scott’s reordering of the Cathedral in the 19th century, the ancient misericords were incorporated into the new choirstalls (the third such time that they have been rehoused). These new seat boards are flexing when sat upon as they are too thin, and this is forcing the misericords to either bend with the seat board or break the joint with the seat board. These seats are also in constant use, so every day the joints are being tested.
The misericords are detaching from the new seat boards and some are now splitting. As a number of misericords have already been reglued, this indicates that the misericord has detached either completely or to a dangerous extent. The same fate can be expected of a number of others.
A programme of specialist conservation is now required to save this significant part of the Cathedral from further damage.