Rare 17th century leather chest from Ottery manor is to go under the hammer after it was discovered in Wiltshire

A rare leather chest more than 400 years old that originated from Ottery St Mary is set to be auctioned after it was discovered in Wiltshire.

The 17th century brass-studded chest was made by King Charles II own cabinet maker, Richard Pigg Junior, and is thought to have been kept at Knightstone Manor.

The metre-wide chest, seen photographed in a room in Knightstone Manor in a 1950 edition of Country Life, is estimated to make between £3,000-5,000 at auction.

Salisbury-based auction house Woolley and Wallis, selling the chest, said the photograph was taken at the time Knightstone Manor was owned by Colonel Reginald Cooper.

Mark Yuan-Richards, head of furniture and works of art at Woolley and Wallis, said: “Not much is known about Reginald Cooper, but he was clearly a devotee of English history and used his knowledge not only to sympathetically restore houses such as Knightstone, but also to furnish them with wonderful examples of English handicraft.

“Richard Pigg, who made chests such as this for multiple English monarchs, was one of the most skilled craftsmen of his time and it is easy to imagine this piece filled with fine silks and linens, being transported from one stately home to the next in the company of its wealthy and, no doubt, titled owner.

“Pieces like this are scarce to the market and so this is a fabulous opportunity to acquire a real rarity.”

The auction house said Colonel Reginald Cooper’s work in preserving medieval properties has been well-documented at Cothay Manor in Somerset, where he lived prior to Knightstone Manor.

Knightstone Manor, near Wiggaton, was built by Thomas de Bittlesgate in 1380.

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