Fig. 37. Oak Dole Cupboard. - 3 ft. 2 1/2 ins. wide by 2 ft. 1 1/2 ins. high by 1 ft. 6 ins. deep. - Date about 1530. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fig. 38. Oak Standing Cupboard. - 5 ft. 4 1/2 ins. high by 4 ft. 2 ins. wide by 2 ft. deep. - Mid-sixteenth century. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fig. 40. Oak Panel. - 13 1/4 ins. high by 10 ins. wide.
Fig. 41. Oak Panel. - 13 1/4 ins. high by 10 ins. wide. - Victoria and Albert Museum. - Early sixteenth century
Fig. 43. Oak Panels. - 14 ins. high by 9 ins. wide. Early sixteenth century. - Victoria and Albert Museum.
It may be advisable, at this juncture, to leave the consideration of these late sixteenth and early seventeenth-century chests and to explain how it is possible, in a general way, to assign localities of origin, as well as dates, to many of the examples illustrated in the preceding and the following pages. We have a fairly sure, but not an infallible index of origin, in pulpits from the late fifteenth century onwards, as we know, as a rule, these would not be removed from the church for which they were made, once they were fixed. Unfortunately, the theory that these are always of local manufacture is not tenable; some of the Kentish woodwork in churches, even in villages well removed from the Thames, is not indigenous, but bears many indications of Essex or Suffolk origin. Certain districts must have been renowned for their woodworking skill and style, particularly in the Gothic period, and workmen from these places would be called upon to provide such articles as pulpits, screens, benches and the like, if a church contemplated refurnishing by reason of added revenues or some unexpected bequest. This would not apply to the fifteenth century, and before, as woodwork in churches of that date bears many indications of being of local make and design, coupled with a friendly rivalry between neighbouring villages in the adornment of their parish church. Pulpits were by no means general, in English churches, in the fourteenth century, and none prior to 1330 are known to exist. At Fulbourne in Cambridgeshire is one of this date, but it is, apparently, unique. Examples from the end of the fourteenth century are also very rare. There is one at Upper Winchendon in Bucks, and two are known in Gloucester, at Evenlode and Stanton.
Fig. 44. Oak Box. - 17 ins. wide by 7 ins. high by 12 1/2 ins. deep. Mid-sixteenth century - W. Smedley Aston, Esq.
Fig. 45. Panel Of Oak Chest. - 3 ft. 8 ins. wide by 1 ft. 9 1/2 ins. wide. Mid-sixteenth century. - Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fig. 46. Oak Chest. - Height, 2 ft. 1 1/2 ins.; width, 4 ft. 1 in.; depth; 1 ft.;7 1/2 ins. circa 1560. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fig. 47. Oak Chest Inlaid With Marqueterie And Parqueterie Of Various Woods. - 3 ft. \\ ins. wide by 2 ft. 6 1/2 ins. high by 1 ft. 8 1/2 ins. deep. - Late sixteenth century. W. Smedley Aston, Esq.
It is, however, from the beginning of the sixteenth century onwards, that pulpits begin to have an interest, for our present purpose, in establishing local manners and periods, as they either copy the pattern of the chest, coffer and cupboard-fronts of their time, or chests are, in turn, copied from them. In any case a fashion is inaugurated, and, in consequence, they become valuable as data. In addition, pulpits of the sixteenth century onwards are nearly always in the secular manner of their time; the Gothic remains only as a trace. Devonshire pulpits do not enter into consideration here. Not only are they exceptional in design, - frequently very richly ornamented, - but construction also varies, at the same period, from the primitive method of hewing and fashioning from the solid tree-trunk, - as in the very late fifteenth-century example at Chivelstone, - to the properly framed and panelled manner of eastern England of this period. Devonshire pulpits are, as a rule, not only locally made, but often at a much later date than their style would indicate, and they rarely follow the fashions in design which are current at this period in other parts of England. As a consequence they are nearly always more spontaneous in type; an artistic virtue, which, however commendable for many reasons, has the drawback of establishing no definite manner such as would render accurate dating possible, in the absence of preserved records. As a criterion of periods, or methods prevalent in their districts, these Devonshire pulpits are useless as guides in estimating dates, or in indicating localities of manufacture.