Carved Wooden Bible Box dated 1702

Contributed by Whitehall Cheam

Carved Wooden Bible Box dated 1702

A Bible box is a small lockable container originally meant to store a bible.

Bible boxes were produced in materials such as wood, metal or ceramics, in simple or extremely ornate styles throughout much of Europe. They were particularly popular in the 17th century, when printed bibles were very expensive and a treasured family possession. Often a bible was the only book owned by a family, and the flyleaf and endpapers used to record important family events such as births, deaths and marriages. On a Sunday, the head of the household would open the box and take out the bible to read appropriate passages to his family.

Our Bible Box is carved on the front with four roundels, two of which contain a daisy and the other two a carnation. The date 1702 is carved in the middle. The iron fitting holding the lock mechanism has two keyholes - one in the middle and another above to the left, which shows that either the owner lost his key, or the box came into the possession of someone who didn't have the original key and a new lock and keyhole was made.

In England in 1702 King William III died and his sister-in-law, Anne Stuart, second daughter of the deposed King James II, was crowned Queen.

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