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In Christian churches, an upright panel, often richly carved, terminating either end of the benches (now usually called ‘pews’) on which the congregation sits. Such seating in the naves of medieval churches became general only towards the end of the 14th and during the 15th century. This was one of the symptoms of the growing importance of the laity in church life; pews were provided for their convenience, and their decoration reflects secular rather than ecclesiastical taste. Carvings on bench ends often have subjects from popular piety or fables and they generally verge on folk art, although the quality of the carving is often extremely high. In England such carvings are particularly common in East Anglia and the West Country, reflecting the prosperity of the middle classes in these regions.
Marcos Antonio Local time: 04:41 Native speaker of: Portuguese PRO pts in category: 20