Sunday, December 30, 2007

Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey

The chair was commissioned in 1296 by King Edward I to contain the coronation stone of Scotland — known as the Stone of Scone — which he had captured from the Scots who had kept it at Scone Abbey. The chair was named after England's only canonized king, Edward the Confessor, and was kept in his shrine of St Edward's Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

The high backed gothic style arm chair was carved from oak by a carpenter known as Master Walter, who was paid the considerable sum of 100 shillings for his work. Four gilded lions act as legs to the chair; these are a comparatively modern restoration executed in 1727. They replace similar lions added in the 16th century. [Frederick Litchfield, Illustrated History of Furniture From the Earliest to the Present Time (1899), pp. 30-32]

Under the seat of the chair is a platform and cavity which until 1996 contained the Stone of Scone; this has now been returned to Scotland with the proviso that it be returned to the chair on the occasion of the next coronation.

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