We are particularly proud of our fully furnished historic beds with full sets of authentic period bedclothes, and can claim far greater experience of producing these than anyone else in Britain. We have been supplying historic beds to many clients for many years, benefitting greatly from what we learned when we were privileged to produce a full set of hangings and bedclothes for the famous 'Great Bed of Ware' in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
We have produced--for Walraversijde Mediaeval Village--‘suspended canopy’ mediaeval beds—something which nobody else has so far recreated; Tudor, Stuart and Georgian four posters; Victorian and Twentieth Century beds and simple servants’ and children’s beds of all periods, including the wheeled 'truckle beds' which could be stored away under larger beds during the daytime.
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We have recently produced a set of 'interactive' Elizabethan beds for Oxwich Castle. These are designed to be made up with bedclothes by children and other visitors, who can then get into them and try them out. They are proving very popular.
Though our craftsmen usually make timber bedframes to order, we can also furnish and equip existing beds of any period. For canopied or 'four-poster' beds, we can make hangings in woollen fabric or silk, usually lined and often embellished for earlier-period beds with tablet-woven fringes and vertical braiding.
Historic 'bed furnishings' we can supply include, working from the bottom upwards:
- Hemp or flax bedcords, which support the mattresses and bedclothes on 16th and 17th century beds.
- Woven rush bedmats which fit over the network of cords
- Mattresses covered in canvas, plain or coloured, or in striped ticking, and filled with straw, wool, wool flocks, feathers or down, or for later beds horsehair. Mattresses can also be filled with inert fibres. Historically, the type of mattress filling depended on the wealth and status of the user. 'Grand beds' of the mediaeval, Tudor and Stuart periods had several mattresses, the hardest at the bottom and softest at the top.
- Linen sheets, either handwoven or recycled from old handwoven linen sheets
- Bolsters and pillows, with their filling and casings, which can be embroidered
- Blankets, in plain or coloured wools, or 'carthen' blankets for Welsh beds.
- Quilts, in materials appropriate to period and status.
- Coverlets, in wool, 'dornix' or silk, lined and fringed as appropriate to status and period.
- Timber bed staves, used for beating out mattresses, holding back bedclothes for airing and (according to anecdote) smiting burglars or recalcitrant partners.
We are always very happy indeed to discuss beds and their individual elements -whether for display or for practical use-- with potential clients.