Page last updated at 06:56 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Night-class reunion for Anglesey church artefact

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The 400 year-old chalice was re-united with its lid after the two men owning the two halves joined the same evening class

A silver chalice dating from the 16th Century has been reunited with its lid years after the two were separated.

The chalice belongs to Llangwyllog church on Anglesey, where Canon Graham Loveluck is the minister.

Antiques dealer Sara Richards had bought the lid more than 10 years ago, believing it to be a sugar bowl cover.

She met the canon in an archaeology class eight years ago, but it was not until a recent second meeting that they discovered the lid's true home.

Ms Richards, a collector for many years, was offered the lid - known as a paten - with the date 1578 imprinted on it by a contact from the antiques world, and initially thought it may have been a sugar lid.

"It was 16th Century and very exciting to handle," she said.

She consulted her silver books but could not find any reference to a mark on the paten.

Sara Richards and Canon Loveluck
Sara Richards and Canon Loveluck only met due to an interest in archaeology

During her first meeting with Canon Loveluck some years later at an archaeology group, he suggested it may have been a chalice lid but it was only when she later saw an antiques programme which mentioned chalices that she realised what it was.

She took it to a silver expert in Chester who identified it and said it had been made for Coedana church, near Llangwyllog, which is now closed but comes under Canon Loveluck's ministry.

Last week, the pair met again on another archaeology course in Bangor University and when Ms Richards told the canon of the paten's provenance, he said: "I've got three 16th Century silver chalices, let's see if it fits."

Canon Loveluck said: "She brought it in and it fitted. In fact, it clicked in its fitting as there is a little rim on it and of course it bore the mark of (silversmith) Mr Mutton."

Further proof of the the pattern's provenance was recorded in the Bangor diocesan church silver book, printed in 1906, with an illustration of the chalice and the lid to the side.

Ms Richards said: "There was no disputing that they weren't one and the same thing. Consequently it had to be returned.

"I parcelled it back up that night and gave it to him, and came home feeling sad, but morally I knew it had to go back."

However she admitted: "There's a small part of me that wishes I could have held on to my piece of Tudor silver."

No-one is certain how the chalice and paten became separated, but Mr Loveluck has suggested it may have happened when the chalice was passed on from Coedana church to Llangwyllog.

The canon called the series of events "providential", adding he was very pleased the paten had been found, and even more so when Ms Richards "very generously" donated it to the church.

"The chalice has been used for 400 years in the church so it will continue being used," he said.

"When they were put together, Sara's piece was dirty because she had specifically not cleaned it, because of the need to preserve it in its originality.

"I said, our chalice is clean and white because we use it every Sunday. So now it's been cleaned up and it too will be cleaned up and used every time there is a service here."



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