Oak Table With Modern Top And Rail Cappings

S ft. 8 ins. extreme width (not over top) by 2 it. 10 ins. deep by 2 it. 9 ins. high over all.

Late sixteenth century. The Vicars' Hall, Exeter.

  1. Before it was divided, the table had a length of 20 ft. with a width of 2 ft. 7 ins. The top is 4 ins. thick, clamped at the ends, but is lined up to this by a solid 3-inch framing. There is a suggestion of the earlier Gothic in the cross-bearers above the legs. The wood is English oak, quartered in the original fine manner. The former traditions, however, were usually well maintained throughout the whole of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, although the stringent regulations of the Trade Guilds were no longer enforced with the old-time severity. It is rare, at all periods, up to the close of the sixteenth century, in the history of English oak furniture, to find timber cut in planks without quartering. The durable qualities of quartered oak were too well understood for the practice to be discontinued.
  2. 129 is also from the middle of the sixteenth century, and is important in possessing one of the original stools, but the draw-top is later in date. This method of extending the top is a seventeenth-century innovation, and the. practice of inserting mitre-ended clamps in the solid wood is also not a sixteenth-century custom. This

Fig. 133. OAK TABLE.

6 ft. -¡\ ins. long by 3 ft. deep by 3 ft. 1 in. high.

Late sixteenth century. Pilton Church, X. Devon.

Fig. 133. OAK TABLE.

6 ft. -¡\ ins. long by 3 ft. deep by 3 ft. 1 in. high.

Late sixteenth century. Pilton Church, X. Devon.

table and its stool is reputed to have come from Broadway, Ilminster, in Somerset, and might be accepted as the type of that locality, were it possible to ascribe counties of origin at this early date. It is safer, however, to reserve such speculations until the end of the sixteenth century is reached.

It has been remarked that long chests were probably used also as tables, and Figs. 130 and 131 show a type which is a combination of the two. Fig. 130 is earlier, and much finer in quality than Fig. 131. It dates from the first years of the sixteenth century, and shows the influence of the rich woodwork of the fifteenth. Unfortunately, this piece has been badly restored at its ends, by a workman unacquainted with the fact that the true mitre (as distinct from the mason's mitre which is worked on the

Fig. 134. WALNUT TABLE.

4 ft. 7I ins. long by 2 ft. ioj ins. deep by 2 ft. ins. high.

Late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Ruckinge Church, Kent.

Fig. 134. WALNUT TABLE.

4 ft. 7I ins. long by 2 ft. ioj ins. deep by 2 ft. ins. high.

Late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Ruckinge Church, Kent.

solid after the framing is put together) was practically unknown at this date. Actually, very- little remains of the original, other than the four pierced and carved panels with their framings and the front legs, although there is no reason to doubt that the piece was in much the same form as it is at present, when it was made. The panels show, on the first from the left, a crown, probably ducal, with the portcullis of Beaufort below, partially covered by the sacred monogram (I.H.S.) which suggests that the piece was made for ecclesiastical uses. Xext in order is the three lilies of France on a shield. There is some slight significance in the use of three lilies only, as they were adopted as one of the quarterings of the royal arms during the latter part of the reign of Henry IV, and continued until James 1 of Scotland ascended the English throne in 1603, unfortunately' a margin of time far too great to be of service to us here. The central panel is not original, and may have been, formerly, the most elaborate of the five. The fourth

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