Strictly speaking, pews are the boxes with seats. The unboxed benches are, well, benches (now universally called pews). And it's true that they were introduced in some churches in northern Europe already by the 14th century, in part because there was a revival of preaching (although most preaching missions were conducted outdoors by traveling friars in the church plaza (for which people stood).
Frank C. Senn
--- On Thu, 4/30/09, Douglas Cowling <cowling.douglas@...> wrote:
From: Douglas Cowling <cowling.douglas@...>
Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Standing as paradigm for worship [was Architecture again]
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 8:14 AM
On 4/30/09 4:46 AM, "asteresplanetai" <asteresplanetai@ jbburnett. com> wrote:
> ok, perhaps i shall stand corrected. But--- to clarify--- are you
> speaking of pews as we have them today, or the kinds of boxes that Tom
> Poelker mentioned?
Both row and box pews are found before the Reformation in England. The
earliest box pews were reserved for worthies like mayors and aristocrats and
were essentially enclosures around a prie-dieu. The 17th century saw pews
gated and boxed almost universally.
Director of Music
St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
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