What is a Glastonbury Chair?

The Glastonbury Chair is a wooden folding chair of medieval English design.


The Glastonbury Chair is a testament to the ingenuity of medieval furniture design, characterized by its folding mechanism, which made it both portable and space-saving. Typically constructed from oak, this chair has a simple yet robust frame, often adorned with intricate carvings that reflect the religious and cultural symbols of its era. The chair's design involves a cross-frame structure, which allows it to be easily folded flat for storage or transport, making it particularly useful for mobile settings like outdoor gatherings or in temporary ecclesiastical setups.

The Glastonbury Chair draws its name from Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England, where it is believed to have originated. Legends suggest that the design was inspired by the chairs used by the monks in the abbey, combining practicality with the spiritual and artistic sensibilities of the medieval period. Despite its ancient origins, the Glastonbury Chair remains relevant in historical periods and movements related to furniture, serving as an inspiration for modern folding chair designs and as a subject of interest for furniture collectors and interior design enthusiasts alike.


The Glastonbury Chair is often found in historic homes, museums, and private collections, where it is displayed as a piece of medieval furniture. It is also used in themed events or establishments that aim to recreate the look and feel of the Middle Ages. In modern times, replicas of the Glastonbury Chair are sometimes crafted for those who appreciate its historical significance and aesthetic value, allowing it to be used in contemporary interior design settings.


  • Who invented the Glastonbury Chair?

    The exact inventor of the Glastonbury Chair is unknown, but it is believed to have originated in the medieval period at Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England.

  • Can the Glastonbury Chair be used in outdoor settings?

    Yes, the Glastonbury Chair's foldable design makes it suitable for outdoor settings, especially temporary ones like outdoor gatherings or ecclesiastical events. However, being made of wood, it should be protected from prolonged exposure to the elements.

  • How do I care for a Glastonbury Chair?

    Caring for a Glastonbury Chair involves regular dusting and avoiding excessive moisture to protect the wood. If your chair has intricate carvings, use a soft brush to clean the crevices. Periodically check the folding mechanism to ensure it operates smoothly, and apply a wood preservative or polish as recommended.

Practical Application

In modern interior design, the Glastonbury Chair serves not only as a functional piece of furniture but also as a decorative element that adds historical charm to a room. Its foldable design offers a practical solution for spaces that require flexible seating arrangements. When not in use, the chair can easily be stored away, making it ideal for small spaces or multi-purpose rooms. Additionally, its historic and aesthetic appeal makes it a desirable piece for those looking to infuse their interiors with a touch of medieval elegance. To incorporate a Glastonbury Chair into your space, consider blending it with both contemporary and antique pieces to create a dynamic and inviting atmosphere.