Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 4pm & Sunday by appointment only
Antique dining tables, farmhouse tables and antique furniture
West Sussex England +44 ( 0 ) 1403 786272

How to Date a Refectory Table

Posted on March 30, 2023

Refectory tables were typically used by monks in the 14th century. Initially, they were made from walnut, but the use of oak became popular around the 16th century.
The tables were made with two wooden pedestals with beautiful carvings and designs, joined by a sort of plank.

Originally, refectory tables were smaller, seating 10 people, but later, they were made longer - enough to seat 16 people. If you are trying to date your refectory table, there are three main things to take notice of.

Colour and Materials

The colour of the table and the materials used in making it are the biggest indicators of when the table was made. Walnut is lighter in colour and was used in the early stages, whereas oak and mahogany are darker in colour and typically used in later years. The colour of the borders evolved from none to light to bright.


The legs of refectory tables always have a tag and/or a stamp of the manufacturer with their basic details. The old ones only have a stamp, whereas the relatively new ones have both a tag and stamp. Once you locate the tag or stamp, you can check online to find out when it was made.

Having a look at the legs can give you an idea of the rough period. The initial antique refectory tables had very typical legs that were in a particular shape and joined by a plank. Later, the shapes, sizes, and designs of legs evolved into square or round as well.
No matter which era a refectory table was made in, if it suits your needs and catches your eye, you must have it. Don't hold back when purchasing antiques. Keep an open mind to antiques from all periods as you never know what might add charm to your home.