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Antique English Tudor Elizabethan Oak Meal Ark Coffer Clamp Chest Trunk (circa 16th Century)

Status: This item has been sold
Sold by: Yolanda Gray Antiques

This antique has been viewed 18 times in the past month with the most views from Ukraine.


Here is a rare antique English primitive oak meal hutch or ark (clamp chest), circa 16th century, in excellent original condition, with sought after proportions displaying a lovely oxblood colour. We believe this chest was constructed around 1500 – 1600, somewhere between the Tudor and Elizabethan period, making it an early example of the first pieces of furniture constructed and used for multiple purposes. These types of chest represent an archaic survival of the medieval clamped-front chest, in which a wide horizontal board is clamped between two vertical stiles, often seen in 15th century furniture.

Such chests were often used in the home, specifically the kitchen or living area, to store corn, meal and bread. They were sometimes also used to store clothes and weapons. The lid was designed to be removed and turned upside down, to be used a kneading trough, hence the peg lid hinges. The chest is primitively constructed from top quality riven oak with butt joints to the corners, held together by handmade wrought iron nails. The lid is constructed with 4 overlapping rough-hewn planks and clamped either side. The four-piece hinged top retains the original wooden peg hinges (which again, is rare to see); they are also in good condition. The chest also features the original wrought iron hasp and decorative striking plate, incorporating the original working lock (restored), with key.

The interior is clean, dry and the chest is practical and usable. The back of the chest features the original rough-hewn boards, along with the original floorboards. The front of the chest boasts primitive etched overlapping ring motif carvings. The chest stands on its original length styles (feet), which is rare to see - they have not been reduced in height

This is an important, early oak ark chest having been around in the days of Henry VIII and later monarchs. This style of primitive chest was constructed all over England from the 16th to 17th century. It also pre-dates the more refined coffers and chests furniture seen in the marketplace today.

Condition Report:
The chest is in good original condition. It features the original iron striking plate, hasp, peg hinges, original floor, top, sides and back. The chest also stands on the original stiles (feet), which is rare to see. The lock is now in working condition, having been restored and cleaned. The lock comes with a working key. There are nominal old marks to the top, leading edges, sides and front of the lid (see photos) but nothing significant considering the age of the item. The interior is clean, dry, and usable. The chest is well constructed, solid in joint and ready to use. Considering the age of this primitive chest, it has stood the test of time and is testimony to the quality of the materials and construction methods used to last this long.

Height = 85cm or 33½” or 2ft 9½”
Width (lid) = 113.8cm or 44¾” or 3ft 8¾”
Width (body) = 110cm or 43” or 3ft 7”
Depth (lid) = 68cm or 26¾” or 2ft 2¾”
Depth (body) = 61cm or 24” or 2ft

Free UK Delivery*:
We offer free delivery to mainland England, Wales, and Southern Scotland. *We do not offer free delivery to locations north of Stirling in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or any British Islands off the mainland. If you live in one of the areas, please contact us for a delivery quote.

Free 14 Days UK Returns & Refunds:
A free 14-day “no quibble” returns policy is available if you are not happy with this item. We will collect the item free of charge from you.

International Buyers:
Please contact us before purchasing the item, so that we can obtain an accurate shipping quote and delivery lead-time.

Ref. Coffer 25

Please contact us on 01829 458 070 or 07960 738 212 to arrange a viewing. Alternatively, please email:
Internal Ref: Coffer 25


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as Before 1700.


Height = 85 cm (33.5")
Width = 113 cm (44.5")
Depth = 68 cm (26.8")

Seller Details

Yolanda Gray Antiques
Unit 4
Organsdale Farm
United Kingdom

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