A Tudor garderobe seat

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A Tudor garderobe seat

The garderobe- a lavatory built into a house with a seat placed above a shaft and pit- was a normal feature of comfortable Exeter houses in the 16th century. It marked an improvement in public health over the cesspit in the garden, used in the Middle Ages.

This wooden seat was built into the fabric of Larkbeare House, a suburban mansion of about 1550. In this instance the garderobe emptied into a stream, avoiding the unpleasant business of emptying the cesspit at the base of the garderobe shaft.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum

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