Radclyffe Bed

Radclyffe bed © DMC Photographic

Permanent exhibition

The Radclyffe Bed is currently on display in the Star Chamber. 

Built by Sir John Radclyffe in the 1360s, the Star Chamber is in the oldest wing of the Hall. Today, the room is set as the 'man's world' where Radclyffe Lords would have conducted their business, written letter, held meetings, heard small court petitions and kept his armour.

It is of national significance as it represents one of the earliest examples of domestic apartments in the country.

This bed once belonged to the Radclyffe family who built Ordsall Hall and lived here from 1360 to 1660.

We believe that the bed was made in the early 1570s to commemorate the marriage of John Radclyffe (c.1536-1590) to Anne Asshawe (1548-1629).

The Radclyffe Bed

The bed was made at the time of Ordsall Hall's heyday when it was one of the richest estates in the area and the house was described as a 'manor house of exceptional beauty'. The ornate carvings and decoration show the great wealth of the Radclyffe family.

It is the only piece of furniture that we have on display that is original to the Hall.

The bed bears the coat of arms of the Radclyffe family (left side of the headboard) and the panel on the right features the arms of the Radclyffe and Asshawe families plus two other families. We believe that the carved figures on the headboard represent Anne, John and either John's father William of his elder brother Alexander (who died a few days before William in 1568). John died in 1590 aged 54 and Anne died many years later in 1630, they are buried next to each other in Manchester Cathedral.

Royal Coat of ArmsThe Royal coat of arms can be seen on the tester (the roof). It has been painted at some point and it is likely it has come from an earlier piece of furniture, we think they are the arms of Henry VIII (1491-1547).

The footboard was added later but is made from the carved front of a 1600s panelled chest and features the Radclyffe coat of arms too.

Animals feature heavily on the bed, there is the lion and dragon of the Royal family and mythical beasts can be seen on the freize round the tester. It is also embellished with many bulls, the emblem of the Radclyffe family.

In early 2014, the bed was sold at auction by a private collector from Derbyshire. It was bought by the Sehnaoui family and they have generously agreed to loan the bed to us for a minimum of five years to allow our visitors to see this amazing piece of Salford's history.