Misericords in Sussex is a volume of 92 pages offering a survey of all known, historic misericords in churches in the counties of both East and West Sussex, most of them falling within the diocese of Chichester. Prepared by Jean Barnes, with photographs by Tony Barnes and by Joy Whiting, the volume is edited by Paul Foster, and contains 167 illustrations.
This record of misericords is complete: that is, it provides a description (with photographs) of all the known, historic misericords within the counties of East and West Sussex. The number of sites is not large, only ten in fact, but they are scattered across the territory, two falling in East Sussex and the remaining eight in West Sussex. They are, with the number of misericords at each site given in brackets: Arundel - Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel Castle (59 – comprising 48 in the Chapel + 11 in the Lady Chapel); Broadwater, near Worthing – St Mary’s (8); Chichester – Cathedral (38); Chichester – St Mary’s Hospital (13 – including some dated to c. 1295); East Lavant, near Chichester (5); Etchingham, midway between Hastings and Royal Tunbridge Wells (18); Hardham, near Pulborough (1); Iden, near Rye (1); West Tarring, near Worthing (6); West Wittering, near Chichester (3).
Many of the misericords in the Fitzalan Chapel are Victorian, as the chapel was badly damaged during the Civil War and not restored until the 1880s; the most ‘creative’ (in the sense of closest to the life of ordinary citizens) are the misericords at St Mary’s Hospital in Chichester, and the style of several is carried on into some of the misericords at Chichester Cathedral – as if the same carver worked at both sites; the eighteen misericords at Etchingham are in pairs, nine on the north side, nine on the south, with each pair showing the same subject, and in design are distinctively ‘Plantagenet’ – from the time of Edward the Black Prince and of Richard II; the most frightening of the misericords is the single at Iden, which depicts a grotesque, horned face, with bulging eyes, open mouth, and lolling tongue.
The volume includes a glossary of creatures, a bibliography, and brief comment on misericords in France. It concludes with an image of Piero della Francesca, The Madonna of the Misericordia (c. 1445).