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auch cathedral choir stalls

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In the choir of Auch cathedral is a very impressive hidden art treasure. A small door part-way along the choir in the side of the choir, for a mere 2€, is the gateway to this ecclesiastical wonder.

related page:
for the stained glass at Auch -
history of ugly stained glass


Some of the hundred and thirteen oaken stalls, Auch cathedral
Some of the hundred and thirteen oaken stalls in the choir of Auch cathedral

Inside you will find a hundred and thirteen oaken stalls, the wood blackened from being immersed in the Gers river for thirty or so years - some say one hundred years, but like the fish it tends to grow in size every time the tale is told. As a result of the immersion, the wood could be worked in great detail, almost like lacework. In all, there are 1,500 different carvings: on the miserichords, armrests and partitions; the high canopies, backrests and pilasters; the passages and arching.


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Miserichord at Auch cathedral Miserichord at Auch cathedral Miserichord at Auch cathedral
Miserichord at Auch cathedral Miserichord at Auch cathedral Miserichord at Auch cathedral
Miserichords at Auch cathedral

Here, the monks stood for their interminable services and while chanting their offices. A little half seat was provided in every stall as a concession to human frailty. Thus the monks could rest while still appearing to be standing as was required during prayers. These seats are called misericords, or mercy seat, [from Latin: misericordia , “act of mercy”].

Under the seats, between the seats, in front of the seats, behind the seats and above the seats is a absolute marvel and variety of the carver’s art with somewhere around fifteen hundred carvings.

New translation, the Magna Carta

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Some of the hundred and thirteen oaken stalls, Auch cathedral
Some of the oaken choir stalls, each with a miserichord

Carvings in the Auch cathedral choir Carvings in the Auch cathedral choir
Carvings in the Auch cathedral choir
Some of the hand supports on the arms
of the choir stalls.

Carvings in the Auch cathedral choir
King David, figuring Francois I and Bethsabeah

Carvings in the Auch cathedral choir
The bishop’s chair with its high canopy in the centre of the line of stalls

Background facts
AuchBlason of Auch

Auch is in the département of Gers (32)

approximate population : 21,700
average altitude/elevation : 207 m

cathedral dimensions
nave length : 103 m
nave width : 33 m
vaults height : 27 m
height of sides : 14 m
height of towers : 44 m

 

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