The Walnut Room
The Walnut Room was added to the house by Mayor Francis Cock as part of his refurbishments in the 17th century. These upper rooms provided privacy for family members and a place to display their fine possessions. Items that were once luxuries, such as the mirror and tapestry on display in this room, came to be necessities for all who could afford them.
Wealthy people, like the owners of Strangers’ Hall, began to invest in new specialist furniture rather than traditional types made of oak. Walnut gave furniture a richness that was much in demand, although walnut trees were being grown in England by the 17th century it wasn’t in sufficient quantities to meet demand. This meant walnut was either imported from France and Virginia or other decorative wood, such as olive or laburnum were used instead.
Due to its cost and scarcity, the main surfaces of furniture were often veneered with thin slices of walnut stuck onto cheaper wood. On the best pieces patterns were built up like jigsaw puzzles, using veneers of different woods - the small table in the Walnut Room is a fine example of this.
Don’t miss the two long case clocks made by Henry Baker of Malling, Kent and James Cuff of London - the cases protected the pendulum and weights and are particularly detailed in their decoration.