Sociable Settles

settle_31307832

“When you come to think of it, settles were the only form of traditional oak furniture that were not used for dining; they were for resting, conversing and drinking. As such, they were sociable, not hierarchical. Unlike other forms of seating, settles did not embody the social hierarchy in which great chairs were reserved for those of the highest rank, joint stools served for (almost) everyone else and forms were for the lowliest – servants children and women.”

— John Fiske, Antique Collecting magazine, September 2013, and “When Oak Was New: English Furniture and Daily Life 1530-1700.”

PS: Apologies for the diarrhea of posts today. I’m emptying a backlog of entries I wrote while I didn’t have consistent Internet access.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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6 Responses to Sociable Settles

  1. momist says:

    Settles like that can still sometimes be stumbled across in out of the way country pubs (in the UK). They are still used for “resting, conversing and drinking”. I abhor those ‘Gastro Pubs’ where they have been pressed into service for dining, to give ‘atmosphere’.

  2. woodworkerme says:

    I have run across things like this once in a while, it’s fun to go over them really close and find tool marks and the like……..also .no apologizes necessary I love all your posts, some even make me head to the shop and try something new.

  3. pfollansbee says:

    Not even close to true: “When you come to think of it, settles were the only form of traditional oak furniture that were not used for dining…” – that’s why I can’t read Fiske’s stuff…

  4. Settles are also often found in fireplaces or facing them. The high back captures and reflects the heat.
    jennie

  5. Doug Harding says:

    I wish there was a like button, because I really like this piece of furniture. .

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