Britain's oldest bed returns to Salford after 400 years

Britain's oldest bed

A bed dating back to the 1570's, and lost for centuries, is returning home to Ordsall Hall after it turned up at auction in London recently.

The Elizabeth 1 oak four poster belonged to the Radclyffe family of Salford and graced the Star Bed Chamber at Ordsall Hall, Salford in the late 16th century. It is the only surviving piece of furniture from the Hall.

Made as the wedding bed for Sir John Radclyffe and Lady Anne Asshawe. The Radclyffes of Ordsall Hall were one of the most influential families in England.

Britain's oldest bed

The bed disappeared somewhere around 1650 when the Hall passed from family ownership. It turned up in the 1930's at the house of a Whalley Range recluse. All of his possessions, including the bed, were sold off to cover death duties, purchased by a Mrs. Robinson of Monyash, Derbyshire.

The bed lay in pieces in farm outbuildings until it was put back together and bought in 1968 by Dr Chris Douglas who was a collector of medieval and Tudor furniture.