One of the main pieces of early furniture were coffers and chests, which were designed for storage; being made from mainly oak, elm or walnut. Elm and walnut coffers are much less likely to heve survived today.
The earliest were originally of boarded construction, consisting of six planks or boards being simply nailed or sometimes pegged together.
Iron hinges and locks being used for security. In the 16th century a more sophistcated form of construction appeared and these were known as panelled chests or coffers; the panelling closely resembling the wall panelling of the period.
Henry V111 or Tudor coffers were often decorated with linenfold carved panels literally resembling folded linen.
The Elizabethan period saw the introduction of coffers being profusely carved and inlaid with exotic woods and bone for decoration
As time went on panelled varieties became the main type of coffer surviving throughout the 17th century and well into the 18th century.
In some panelled coffers from the early 17th century a drawer was added at the bottom, becoming known today a mule chest.
Along with chests and coffers other forms of mainly smaller boarded furniture were made such as oak desk or deed boxes, which again could be carved for decoration.
The bible was often kept safe under lock and key in its own box. Bible boxes, deed boxes, and desk boxes along with coffers, chests, and mule chests were often decorated, initialled and dated.