If it be a truism that the greater one's knowledge the more self-apparent is one's ignorance, I can only say that the real profundity of mine on the subject of early oak woodwork was never so apparent to me until after our collaboration had commenced. Ernest Gribble's name figures on this book as co-author with my own, but I must acknowledge that he has supplied the bulk of the facts and the greater number of the photographs. In the early chapters I have merely written from his notes, which have exploded many of my pet theories. Some of these, however, have survived his criticism or persisted in spite of it.

I cannot close this preface without a grateful acknowledgment to many of the owners of the examples illustrated here, who have, with unfailing courtesy and patience, assisted me in every way, by affording facilities for photographing their possessions, and by giving me information as to their history and origin.

I have been indebted to so many for the necessary photographs which the book has required that particular mention is almost invidious in itself. I feel, however, that distinct praise is due to those gentlemen who have taken photographs in churches, as every photographer will appreciate the enormous difficulty attendant upon work of this character.

The Rev. Frederick Sumner has very kindly furnished the following: Figs. 99, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 117, 147, 148, 152, 169, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175. The Rev. F. R. P. Sumner : Figs. 3, 4, 5, 132, 133, 134, 135, 146, 154, 155, 156. Mr. C. J. Abbott : Figs.

33, 55. 66, 97, 98, 104, 105. 157, 158, 181, 182, 184, 263, 264, 265, 295, and Messrs. F. Frith : Figs. 93, 94, 95, 96, 106, 138. 139, 159, 176, 177.

I would like to point out here, that the collecting of the necessary photographs for this book has occupied a space of over twelve years. The names here given are of the owners of the pieces at the times when the photographs were taken. Many of the examples may have changed hands since; this has been the case, to my knowledge, with several, but as I have not - and could not without an enormous amount of trouble, have followed the history of each piece and noted its change of ownership, I have, therefore, noted the name of the owners at the time when the photographs were taken. This course was inevitable. To obviate a needless repetition of " In the possession of," or " The property of," I have merely put the name of the owner under each example illustrated.

I cannot resist here a strong word of praise of our national collection of furniture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and at the same time to express my admiration of the way in which this has been reinforced and improved during recent years. So much painstaking knowledge and diligent research has been shown, so many new pieces of remarkable merit have been acquired, and in circumstances of the utmost difficulty (as the buying methods of the Board of Education place their curators at serious disadvantage when pitted against the dealer or the private collector), that I have been amazed to find out, on recent visits, how good and representative the collection of furniture at the Museum really is, at the present day. After travelling hundreds of miles, to inspect collections of early oak in remote country districts, only to find that one is confronted with the handiwork of this or that well-known " reproducer," it is refreshing, to say the least, to visit the Museum, where every courtesy and assistance is afforded to the student, and where every piece can be examined under ideal conditions.

In conclusion, if the reader experiences only a part of the pleasure and profitable knowledge from the perusal and study of this book which I have gained in its writing, I shall be more than satisfied.

H. C


" There is no way of making an aged art young again; it must be born anew and grow up from infancy as a new thing, working out its own salvation from effort to effort in all fear and trembling."

Samuel Butler, Erewhon.

Parallel History Of Europe In The Fifteenth And Sixteenth Centuries Parallel History Of Europe In The 1400







House of



1308 The Helvetian Republic began with the (legendary) re-volt of William Tell against Gess-ler, Governor for the Emperor Al bert I. The (anions joined the League in the following order:




1400 Robert, Count Palatine of Luxemburg

1406 Interregnum

1400 Henry IV

1413 Henry V

1415 Battle of Agincourt

1410 Sigismund (King of Bohemia, 1419) (King of Hungary, 1392)

1424 James I 1437 James II

1422 Henry VI

1453 Wars of the es

House of York

1422 Charles VII

1428 Siege of Or-leans Joan of Vi

1451 Louis

1308 Uri 1308 Switz

House of Austria

1438 Albert II

(King of Bohemia and Hungary in 1437)

1440 Wladislaus

1308 Unterwalden

1460 James III

1461 Edward IV

1401 Louis XI

1465 Amadeus IX

1332 Lucerne

1440 Frederick IV

(He transformed Austria into an Arch-Duchy in 1452)

1458 George


1458 Matthias



The Plague

1465 War of the

1472 Philibert I

1351 Zurich


Public Good

Line of Jagellon

1 183 Edward V 1483 Richard III

1483 Charles VIII

1482 Charles I

1352 Zug

1471 Wladislaus 1490 son of Casimir I of Poland

1489 Charles II

1352 Glaris

1488 James IV

The " Golden Age" of English Woodwork

1495 Expedition to Italy

1353 Berne 1481 Fribourg

The "Sweating Sickness "

1496 Philip Lackland

1481 Soleure

House of Tudor

1498 Louis XII

(called the " Father of his People ")

1497 Philibert II

(The Fair)

Allied Cantons 1491 Grisons

1493 Maximilian I

1485 Henry VII

1491 Valais

1506 The " Sweating Sickness " again breaks out

1504 Charles III

1501 Basle

1501 Schaffhausen

1513 James V

1509 Henry VIII

1515 Francis I

1513 Appenzel

1517 Reformation of Luther

1516 Louis, killed at Mohatz

1515 Hampton Court commenced

Allied Cantons

1529 The English " Sweating Sickness " attacks Northern Germany. 1100 people die in Hamburg in 22 days

1517 " Sweating Sickness " again in 1528, known then as the "Great Mor-tality"

1502 St. Gall

1503 Bienne 152(3 Geneva 1526 Neufchatel

1519 Charles V, Emperor of Austria and King of Spain

1529 Fall of Wolsey

The House of Austria divides into the Spanish and German Branches

1536 Suppression of Monasteries began


On the German side

1526 Ferdinand, Emperor in 1556

1542 Mary

(Beheaded 1587)

1543 Henry VIII commences to debase the coinage




1556 Ferdinand I, who by marriage with the heiress of Bohemia and Hungary united those Kingdoms to the House of Austria

1547 Edward VI

1547 Henry II


1551 Last visita-tion of the " Sweating Sickness "

1559 Francis II Civil war by the Guise faction

1553 Emanuel Philibert (Iron Hand)

On the French side


1553 Mary I

1560 Charles IX


1567 James VI

(Succeeded to the throne of England in 1603as James I Scotland and Eng land united as Great Britain in 1607)

1558 Elizabeth

1588 Armada destroyed

1600 East India Company's Charter

1572 Massacre of St. Bartholomew

1574 Henry III

1575 The League

1589 Henry IV of Navarre (called " the Great ")

1580 Charles Emanuel I (the Great)


On the Italian side

Lugano Locarno Bellinzona

1564 Maximilian II 1576 Rodolph II

Fifteenth And Sixteenth Centuries - 1400











House of Anjou

1406 John II



(1395 Russia invaded by Tamerlane the Tartar)

1404 Innocent


1410 Interregnum

1406 Gregory


1414 Jane or Janella II

1412 Ferdinand I

1409 Alexander V

1416 Alfonso V

1410 John


House of


1425 Blanche and John II,

King of Arragon

1424 John II Paleologus

1425 Vasily or Basil III

1417 Martin V

1431 Eugenius IV

1435 Alfonso, King of Arragon and Sicily

1433 Edward

1454 Henry IV

1448 Constantine Paleologus, the last of the Greek Emperors

1447 Nicholas V

1455 Calixtus


1458 Ferdinand the Bastard in Naples

1438 Alfonso V

(the African)

1458 John II

1462 IvanBasil-owitz or JohnIII

1458 Pius II

John, King of Arragon and Sicily

1474 Isabella m. 1479 Ferdinand


Kingdom of Spain

1479 Eleanor

1479 Francis Phoebus of Foix

Empire of the Turks

Ottoman Line

(In 1474 he delivered Russia from the Tartars)

1464 Paul II

1471 Sixtus IV

1484 Innocent VIII

1494 Alfonso II

1481 John II

1483 Cathar and John of Albret, who was stripped of Upper Navarre by Ferdinand of Castille

1495 Ferdinand II

1495 Emanuel (the Fortunate)

1492 Discovery of America

1453 Mahomet II captures Constantinople

1492 Alexander VI

1496 Frederick III expelled by the French

1481 Bajazet II


ouse of


1504 Ferdinand, King of Arra-gon and Sicily, seized the crown of Naples, and Sicily and Naples remained subject to the Kingdom of Spain till 1707

1521 John III

House of


1504 Jane and Philip of Aus-tria succeed Isa-bella in Castille Ferdinand reigns in Arra-gon until his death in 1516

1516 Henry II of Albret

1512 Selim I

1505 Vasily or Basil IV

(Maximilian grants him title of Emperor)

1503 Pius III 1503 Julius II 1513 Leo X

1522 Adrian VI

1523 Clement

31 Alexander created Duke by the Em-peror Charles V


1555 Joan of Albret and Anthony of Bourbon

1520 Solyman I The Magnificent

Czars of


VI 1534 Paul III 1550 Julius III

rand Dukes

1557 Sebastian

1516 Charles V Emperor of Germany in 1519

Cortez in

Mexico Pizarro in Peru

1533 Ivan Basil-owitz or John IV

(Conquered Kazan and assumed title of Czar in 1545)

1555 Marcellus II

69 Cosmo I

1572 Henry III In 1589 he succeeded to the throne of France under the title of Henry- IV (afterwards called " the Great ") and from thence Lower Navarre joins the French Monarchy

1566 Selim II defeated at Le-panto

1555 Paul IV 1559 Pius IV 1566 Pius V

74 Francis

1578 Henry the Cardinal

1556 Philip II conquered Portugal but lost


1574 Amurath III

1584 Fedor I

1.72 Gregory


ST Ferdinand I

1580 Philip II of Spain took possession of Portugal and it remained subject to the Spanish Crown until 1640

1581 William of Orange

1585 Sixtus V 1590 Urban VII

1590 Gregory


1591 Innocent


1584 Maurice B.

1592 Clement


1598 Philip III

1595 Mahomet III

L598 Basil Codu-now

A Chart Of Gothic Architecture And Woodwork In England

(The dates given are not those of the accession of Kings)

William I, 1066, to Stephen, 1154. Norman or Romanesque. The circular-headed arch.

Henry II, 1154 to 1189. Transitional, Norman to Pointed or Lancet.

Richard I, 1189, to Henry III, 1272. Early English, Lanceolated. Geometrical tracery begins to appear.

Edward I, 1272 to 1307. Transition from early pointed to geometrical pointed. Tracery entirely geometrical. No free forms in decoration of windows.

Edward II, 1307 to 1327. Geometrical pointed. (Early English.)

Free forms appear in tracery and especially in decoration of mouldings.

Edward III, 1327 to 1377. Flowing or Curvilinear. (Decorated.) Culminating in the Flamboyant.

Richard II, 1377 to 1399. Transition from Free Decorated to Rectilinear or Perpendicular.

Henry IV, 1399, to Henry VIII, 1546. Perpendicular or Rectilinear. Introduction of the Linen-fold panel.

1546 onwards. Introduction of the Italian Classical, superimposed on the Gothic, afterwards developing into the Tudor styles.