Tuesday 22 May 2018

The Beckingham Bride Chest

The Beckingham Bride Chest. Object Post 15

The Beckingham Bride Chest was made in 1530 as a wedding gift from John, Lord Beckingham, (1510 - 1565) to his bride Grauni "the gypsy witch". The chest was decorated with carved panels, with a new one being added for each Beckingham bride in a direct line from John and his gypsy. The first emblems were the Beckingham peacock, which was set with a large pink pearl, and the gypsy (fire)drake, set with a diamond.  More followed, with the seventh and last emblem, the Frith owl, being set in 1815 upon the engagement of James Beckingham 1794-1815 to Elizabeth Frith. 

The chest was unusual in that it was passed down through the women of the family, belonging to each incoming bride to the heir until the night before her eldest son's wedding at which time it was passed on. After being passed to Elizabeth in 1815 it went to no more brides. Elizabeth received the chest on schedule but the untimely death of James meant she never married into the Beckingham family, and thus never had a Beckingham son to provide the next bride in line. Obviously, the former owner, Elizabeth's mother-in-law-elect Margaret, wanted it back for her second son's bride, but Elizabeth wouldn't give it up. For two hundred years no one except Elizabeth knew what had become of the chest. The only trace left of it was a painting, done in 1786 and hung in the muniment room of Beckingham Castle. 

In 2016, a descendant of the Beckinghams finally learned the location of the Beckingham Bride Chest. Getting it back was quite another matter.

The Beckingham Bride Chest appears in the Cat Mahal is Magic series, beginning with The Peacock's Pearl.


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of May 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

1 comment:

Thanks for reading