Relevant categories: Dining Sets,Chairs,Seating and Chairs
(Above photo - Antique Oak Monks Bench Settle )
A monks bench or chair is a piece of furniture in the form of a wooden bench, with a high back and arms. It is created to accommodate three or four individuals. It was designed with a high back to ward off the draught that was common in medieval times. Due to their functionality, these chairs were used in the common rooms inside the house. If you were to buy a monks chair today, the most ideal place for it is the garden or patio.
(Above photo - Antique Carved Oak Settle - 18th Century Monks Bench Seat )
A monks bench was designed to be movable, even though some models were fixed. It is a collector’s favorite, comparable to chests and other types of chairs. In addition to the high back, a monks chair would have a wooden canopy or winged ends. The preferred position of the chair was in the sitting room near the fire.
What Material Is A Monks Chair Made From?
(Above photo - Antique 19th Century Celtic Monks Bench Settle Seat Carved Oak )
A monks chair was mainly made from hardwood such as oak and mahogany. Featuring the medieval design, it was solid, durable, and heavy. However, it isn’t easy to come across a chair from earlier than the mid-16th century. Most of those that exist today are from the Jacobean period.
There were the cheap chairs and the more expensive ones. As such, a less expensive monks chair would have a plain surface. More expensive ones had elaborate carvings or incisions. Their prominent places in the home were halls in the manors and farmhouse kitchens. By mid-18th century, the chairs had more than ran out of popularity.
How Did A Monks Bench Look Like?
(Above photo - Hand carved antique oak monks bench )
In designing a Monks chair, artists would create a plain chair capable of being moved around. However, there are other designs with inbuilt boxes under the seat and cupboards on the back. Some of them were used in homes and others in churches. Apart from acting as chairs, they provided the much needed storage space for all kinds of items.
Also, there was a monks chair that morphed into a table. Its base also had a chest. Its back had flanges with long slits at the bottom. When needed, the back would be raised so that the piece of furniture could be used as a table top. That is a combination of what we know as a monks chair and a monks bench.
(Above photo - Hand carved oak settle )
That kind of chair was highly functional. In rooms where there was need to provide move sitting space, all that was required is to roll the back into position. So, one moment it would serve as a dining table and the other a monks chair. Even though it isn’t clear if monks in medieval Europe ever used that kind of furniture, the name has stuck firmly.
Earlier on, we had alluded to the fact that you can buy a monks chair to put on your patio or garden. What we didn’t say is that the elaborately decorated chair can also add to your home’s interior décor. You also get additional storage space if it has a chest and cupboard.
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