Settles are commonly movable, but occasionally fixed. The settle shares with the chest and the chair the distinction of great antiquity. Its high back was a protection from the draughts of medieval buildings, protection which was sometimes increased by the addition of winged ends or a wooden canopy. It was most frequently placed near the fire in the common sitting-room. According to historian Claudia Kinmonth, in early furniture inventories the use of the terms bench and settle were interchangeable, but that generally a settle was understood to have arms.
Constructed of oak or other hardwood, it was extremely heavy, solid, and durable. Few English examples of earlier date than the middle of the 16th century are extant; survivals from the Jacobean period are more numerous. Settles of the more expensive type were often elaborately carved or incised; others were divided into plain panels. They were commonly used in farmhouse kitchens or manorial halls. Its vogue did not long outlast the first half of the 18th century. They are usually very characterful pieces as they got heavy use, being found in pubs, taverns or working farmhouses, so they can have the most amazing charm about them.
Of a good large size for its type and in a desirable colour; eminently useable in today’s contemporary home.