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Hunt the Artefact: Bodger’s Chair

22 April 2016

This triangular-seated three-legged Elizabethan chair is made up of many pieces of elaborately turned pieces of oak and ash and is at least 325 years old.

The chair was made by a “bodger” who was a traditional woodworker who used a tree lathe which was powered by the springy bent bow of a tree.  This type of lathe rarely produced two spindles alike, so this is possibly the derivation of the term “a bodge job”. Three-legged chairs were popular years ago because they were very stable, especially when standing on uneven floors.

This chair was brought to the Mount by Francis St Aubyn in 1690.  He was the Mayor of Marazion and lived in the castle while his elder brother, the 1st Sir John St Aubyn, resided at the other family home of Clowance near Camborne. 

You can find this seat in the corner of one of the main showrooms and it is highly likely that it has stood there ever since it arrived in the castle.  It can be seen standing in exactly that position in several etchings and watercolours of the room, which are displayed around the castle.

Visit the castle and see if you can find the Bodger’s chair.