Kitchen Bedchamber


In the 17th century this would have been known as the Kitchen Chamber ie "the chamber over the kitchen" and therefore highly desirable as one of the warmest rooms in the house. It is the first of the Bedrooms to be refurbished. One wall of original (c.1670) painted decoration survives, together with a few other fragments. Kitchen Bedchamber bedThese are undergoing conservation after which the remaining, newly plastered, walls will be repainted with the same pattern. Again, as in other rooms in the house, stripes are the favoured scheme - narrow one inch vertical stripes extending from painted skirting to painted frieze. The overall colour is dark red, which will be spotted in where missing, thus throwing the stripes into prominence once more. One of the pigments used (but no longer!) was Kings Orpiment, a highly expensive yellow, consisting of 90% arsenic.

Two 17th c windows have been filled in (possibly a response to 18th c window tax) while the other two have been glazed to a configuration surviving in another Marlborough High Street house.

Kitchen Bedchamber pathwork counterpaneFurnishing is in line with the 1691 inventory with the addition of a few items such as the cradle and warming pan. The extra items can be justified because the widow was allowed to remove favoured pieces before the inventory was taken.

This magnificent patchwork counterpane was made by one of our volunteers, Margaret Matthews. It is based on known 17th c designs. It is another illustration of the way in which our 17th century ancestors loved colour despite popular ideas to the contrary.