King Bed

Shakespeare, Byron, and Ben Jonson all refer to the Great Bed of Ware, an enormous luxury bed built by Hertfordshire carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke at the end of the 16th century. Measuring 10 feet by 11, it was said to fit 12 comfortably; Sir Henry Chauncy tells how six couples once contrived to sleep in it so that no man lay next to any woman but his wife: “six should lie at one End of the Bed and six at the other, after this Manner, first a Man and his Wife, next a Woman and her Husband, next him a Man and his Wife; then the other three Couple should lie in the same Order at the Feet.”

After centuries as an “inn wonder,” it resides today in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.