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Tewkesbury Cope Chest

Tewkesbury Cope Chest

Special Award: Small Project

Location: Tewkesbury Abbey
Building Owner: Tewkesbury Abbey with Walton Cardiff PCC
Designer: Birdsall, Swash & Blackman
Maker: Tim Jeffree
Wood Supplier: James Latham
Wood Species: European Oak

There is in Tewkesbury Abbey a number of copes which conservators advise be stored flat and which is the traditional means of storage. This cope chest was designed and made following the general precedents of medieval times but with modern details.

The design comprises five quadrant shaped drawers which turn round a corner pivot. The top drawer is covered with glass protected with timber leaves. The latter can be opened so the top drawer can be used for exhibition purposes. The drawers are so designed that when each is opened it pulls with it the next drawer below as a means of support.

Oak was chosen partly because of its durability and longevity, and partly because of its being able to take the degree and precision of detail required. Oak is also the timber which has overwhelmingly been used for furnishings and fittings in the Abbey in the past.