Oak Corporation Chest

Early sixteenth century. Christchurch Museum, Ipswich.

due to superliveliness of imagination ; no apothecary in the fifteenth century would have possessed such a chest, so massive and elaborate, and so heavily guarded. He would have nothing of sufficient value to place inside it, apart from other weighty considerations. There are several hypotheses which are more credible. It may have been presented to an abbot or high church dignitary, and the name may be that of the donor, or more probable still, the name " >. FARES " may indicate an initial of a Christian name coupled with the Latin name of an abbey or see, in the same manner as Cantuar or

CARVED WALNUT CHEST FRENCH].

4 It. 3J ins. wide by x it. 9 ins. deep by 3 it. 4J ins. total height.

CARVED WALNUT CHEST FRENCH].

4 It. 3J ins. wide by x it. 9 ins. deep by 3 it. 4J ins. total height.

Ebor. It may have been the strong chest of one of the powerful semi-clerical guilds of that period, made to contain robes and insignia, in which case, "FARES" may still be the name of a place, rather than of a person. The front of the chest was, evidently, the side of least importance, other than to one opening the lid, which is the first item of significance. It has two voluted leafed stalks, terminating in the Rose of York ; certainly not the Tudor rose at this date. At the carved end is the monogram " N.F." surmounted by an inverted and stalked acorn calyx or cup, the same device being repeated on the back before the carving of the name. It would be interesting to ascertain if this were not one of the signs of the Cluniac order, which was a powerful guild even as late as this. The trailing vine-tendrils, with leaves and bunches of grapes, may have a religious significance, and the rose at the top left-hand corner in Fig. 35, with a similar device repeated in a row on the band underneath, may mean more than simple ornament. The uprights on this side are buttressed, in the late fifteenth-century manner. The base, on the back and side, is lunetted and carved with cusping. Similar detail probably existed on the front, but has perished. The coffer is small for its appearance ; 3 ft. 6J ins. in length, 1 ft. 6 ins. in depth and 1 ft. 5J ins. in height, but it may have been either cut down or some inches of its original base worn away. The work which has been lavished upon it, and the high quality of its execution, show that it must have been a piece of first importance when it was made. The suggestion that it may have contained relics

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