Two Men Playing Backgammon.  Manchester Cathedral circa 1500.

(Photo from "A Little Book of Misericords" by Mike Harding. Reproduced with permission of the author. Copyright Mike Harding)

A misericord is the seat of a choir stall, which allows a chorister to rest while giving the appearance of standing.

Misericords were made of wood.  In medieval cathedrals they often had ornate carvings underneath.  These were one of the few places in a church where non-religious figures were allowed and the carvers were often allowed a free hand in design.

The Manchester Cathedral misericords are considered to be some of the best in Europe.  Among the 30 is one of two men playing backgammon.  The figures of the men are in good condition, though worn.  However the carvings of the two women watching them are badly damaged.  The misericord is the earliest known mention of backgammon in the UK.  The position depicted is discernible as the normal starting position.