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Britain's 400-year-old bed

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Some family heirlooms are more unconventional than others.

For the Berkeleys, it's a bed that's been slept on by their relatives since the early 1700s.

The wooden four-poster may be ancient, but Georgina Berkeley, 73, maintains that the bedtime relic is the best in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, and is still used by her and husband John, 81.

The antique bed is still in use and takes pride of place in the castle's Great State Bedroom

“Despite its great age, it is the most comfortable bed in the Castle,” Berkeley said. "“Sleeping in such a wonderfully historic bed conveys a real feeling of British history."

The intricately carved furniture was first recorded on the aristocratic family's inventory in 1608, but experts believe its decorative motifs suggest it dates back even earlier, to the 16th century.

If beds could talk...the antique four-poster dates back to at least 1608

Its extraordinary history was uncovered when retailers Furniture Village embarked on a search for the UK’s oldest piece of furniture still in use.

Marketing director Charlie Harrison said: “The Berkeley Castle bed offers compelling evidence that nothing can beat British furniture when it comes to craftsmanship and durability.”

The grade I building, which is open to visitors, is believed to be the oldest private castle in England still inhabited by the family that built it.

By Anna Pollitt. Images: Furniture Village

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