For centuries there was no seating in the nave, although a stone ledge was sometimes provided for the elderly and infirm - 'the weakest go to the wall'.
With the increase in preaching came the need for seating.
By the late 16th century an increasing number of churches had installed permanent benches.
Rows of benches are often erroneously referred to as PEWS. Pews are actually enclosed structures, and of a much later date and had doors to protect from drafts. These ‘box pews’ were sometimes provided with armchairs and cushions and perhaps even a stove and curtains.
(text and images courtesy of Heritage Inspired)