However, this example offered as part of the Oak Interior sale at Bishop & Miller (25% buyer’s premium) in Stowmarket, Suffolk, on February 23 was perhaps as early as c.1540-80.
Robustly made with a 10-panel back, its decoration includes an elliptical leaf-carved top rail and chip-carved and chamfered front uprights. As a piece of secular domestic furniture, it is much rarer than church pews of the Tudor period that still survive in situ in substantial numbers. According to the auction house this survivor had been acquired in the 1980s from Forde Abbey in Dorset.
Pieces of this kind appeal to a serious collecting audience at prices way above the levels established for more decorative oak and vernacular furnishings.
Estimated at £3000-5000, it took £13,500.