Ripon is famed for its misericords, dating from between c.1489 and 1494. Remarkably, despite the severe damage of the Civil War, when the medieval glass was destroyed, the misericords survived intact. Three hands can be detected in these masterpieces of the carvers’ art, and very unusually, for a period when carvers are commonly anonymous, it has been possible to determine that they were created by the workshop of the Bromflet family, known in the Ripon historical record along with other named local carvers from around this date. With characters in the dress of the time, they present moralistic scenes, mythological creatures, and some biblical and doctrinal episodes, with extraordinary vigour and power.
The imaginative scenes, some humorous, some bizarre and some satirical, are said to have inspired Lewis Carroll. He would have become familiar with them during the time when his father was one of the Canons of Ripon. A detailed book on the misericords is available for purchase in the cathedral shop.