Advent Calendar Day 22

Elizabethan Feasting Trenchers

Elizabethan painted wooden trenchers decorated with verses

Placed face down on a table they would have held sugared fruits, marzipan or other sugary delicacies. After the food was eaten the trenchers would have been turned over to reveal the painted decoration and verses which would have been read aloud as entertainment.

Many of the boards in this set have been decorated with psalms and other biblical verses, as well as flowers, leaves, fruit and other motifs.

Originally a trencher was a flat piece of stale bread which would have been used as a plate and then either eaten at the end of the meal or given to the poor. Trenchers later evolved into small plates of metal or wood.

Elizabethan painted wooden trenchers
England, c. 1595–1600

Boards 10.5 x 13.5 cm
Box 15.5 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm
Painted wood


Elizabethan Feasting Trenchers