Two Vestment Chests

The Parish chest was the safe of its day. Secured with three metal padlocks, each opened by a different key, held by different people, ensured the safekeeping of the contents.

The long wooden chest with metal rim and three large padlocks is thought to date from the 13th century, while the second large leather studded chest dated 1663 came from Slyfield Manor.

The three locks on the Parish chest prevented any single individual from accessing the contents that probably included vestments and valuable artefacts.

13th century parish chest

The ancient wooden chest is 182cm in length and has four locks – three large padlocks and one open lock. There are five metal hinges along the lid and five metal straps along the bottom.

The lid is divided into two sections. The chest has a metal carrying ring at the right end and is balanced on two wooden feet. Raising the chest above the floor would have protected documents and garments from the damp.


17th century muniment chest

This Parish chest would have originally stored church documents. Made of wood and leather, double rows of studs create a pattern on the top and front of the chest. A central rectangle on the lid contains the date of 1663.

There are metal straps on the front corners, the ends and corners of the lid and four locks that do not connect. The chest is said to have come from Slyfield Manor.

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