James Edward Nightingale.

The church plate of the county of Dorset. With extracts from the returns of church goods by the Dorset commissioners of Edward VI. 1552 online

. (page 1 of 19)
Online LibraryJames Edward NightingaleThe church plate of the county of Dorset. With extracts from the returns of church goods by the Dorset commissioners of Edward VI. 1552 → online text (page 1 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook





g-:neai_ogy collection

lior^se of .^alisburp


Co7mfy of Dorset.






I. Elizabethan Chalice...

II. Elizabethan Chalice ...

III. Plate at Abbotsbury ...

' I\'. Chalice, Shipton Gorge

C^\ \'. Chalice, Wraxall

^- VI. Paten, Whitchurch Canonicorum ... 3S, 39

VII. Chalice, Wotton Fitzpaine

VIII. Chalice, Mosterton

■ IX. Chalice, Coombe Keynes

■^ -X. Plate at .Swan age

.\I. Paten, Buckhorn Weston

XII. Chalice, Gillingham .. o-


XIII. Chalice, Long Bitrton

XIV. Chalice, Sturminster Marshall ... j^q
XV. Chalice, Wylye, Wilts

XVI. Cup, Winterborne Whitchurch

... 145


Thk primary object of tlie contents of the present volume was the
fulfilment of a desire on the part of the Bishop of Salisbury to
obtain authentic returns of all the Church Plate belonging to every
parish in the diocese, for the purpose of their being preserved in
the Diocesan Registry. To carry out this design a printed form of
"Return" was issued to every incumbent, through the Rural Deans,
stating what special information was required ; these were ulti-
mately collected together, and form the basis of the matter now
printed. It was thought desirable to deal first with that portion of
the diocese consisting of the county of Dorset. These returns, as
might have been expected, varied very much in the extent and
value of the information given. It was quite necessary that many
of them should be supplemented, and in some cases practically
rewritten, by some gentlemen of the district who possessed a
knowledge of the importance of Hall marks, so as to determine
the dates of the earlier pieces, as well as some familiarity with the
design and fashion of chalices in particular, — and also to supply
outlines or drawings where practicable. The division of the
county of Dorset into Rural Deaneries, as set forth in the Sarum
Almanack, has been found to be a convenient mode of classifi-
cation. Each Rural Deanery was supervised, and the returns
collected, by those gentlemen who undertook the office. This
distribution was as follows : — No. i, Abbotsbury Portion. This,
from some oversight, was investigated by no other worker, I there-
fore undertook it myself. Nos. 2 and 3, Bridport and Lyme
Portions, were taken by J. S. Udal, Esq., of Symondsbury Manor.
No. 4, Beaminster, by the Rev. J. Stroud, of South Perrott.
Nos. 5 and 6, Dorchester and Weymouth, by H. J. Moule, Esq.,
of Dorchester. No. 7, Purbeck, by W. A. Bankes, Esq., of
Wolveton. Nos. 8 and 9, Blandford and Wimborne, by Montague

Guest, Esq., of Bere Regis. Nos. lo, ii, 12 and 16, Shaftesbury,
Stalbridge, Sherborne, and Cerne, by the Rev. C. H. Mayo, of
Long Burton, who personally made the original returns for the
parishes in the Stalbridge and Cerne Portions. Nos. 13, 14, 15
and 17, Sturminster Newton, Bere Regis, Poole, and Milton, by the
Rev. N. W. Gresley — but as Mr. Gresley left the Diocese some time
since, a second revision was kindly undertaken by Mr. Montague
Guest. These returns now represent every parish in the county,
amounting to about three hundred, and are conterminous with the
Archdeaconry of Dorset ; to these were added sheets containing
such sketches, drawings, and rubbings of the different pieces, as were
forthcoming ; — and so the Bishop's requirements were complied
with. And here it may be mentioned, for the guidance of any
future explorers in the same field, that too much must not be
expected from general "returns" of Church Plate where the
object is archjeological. When possible, the shortest and most
satisfactory way is to visit each parish, Cripps in hand, and note
the details on the spot.

The matter printed in the present volume does not contain the
whole of the minor details of the returns, such as the full
measurement of every piece, the weights, and other small parti-
culars, but all available information has been given in full of the
earlier examples down to the end of the last century, and a
shorter notice of all existing pieces that have been added since
that time. Whenever any inscriptions are found indicating the
donors of the plate, either by giving the names in full, or by
initials, or by coats of arms, some attempt has been made to
identify them ; but there is no doubt a great deal more might
be done in this way, and that, principally through the careful
examination of the Churchwardens' accounts and Parish Registers,
which are still to be found in most places. In this respect the
returns from the different parishes are usually very meagre. The
value, and indeed the interest, of these records cannot be too
strongly insisted upon ; if made generally available by a fair
copy in each parish — probably at no very great cost of time and
labour — although the matter might seem individually unimportant.

they would form a basis of valuable additional material for the
illustration of parish as well as of county history.

A good deal of information has been gleaned from the excellent
County History of Dorset by Hutchins, and especially from the
important additions made to the last edition of that work. The
value and assistance given to these inquiries by the system of
assay and makers' marks cannot be over-estimated ; marks of
some kind are found in the great majority of pieces, and when the
Hall mark is well defined you are on perfectly safe ground, and
can tell with certainty not only its true date, but in many cases
the actual maker of it. This one is enabled to do principally by
the help of the information given in the excellent " History of
Old English Plate" by Mr. Cripps. When short reference is
made to that work, it is alluded to as O. E. P. When dates are
seen inscribed on the earlier pieces, it is found that they generally '
coincide with the actual period of manufacture. It will be
understood that all general references to Hall marks relate to the
London assay, while the very few examples of any others are
specially mentioned.

The County of Dorset now forms part of the see of Salisbury.
It originally fell under the wide jurisdiction of the ancient sees
of Dorchester, in Oxfordshire, and of Winchester, until the
foundation of the bishopric of Sherborne, a.d. 705, and when
that see was transferred to Salisbury it still remained a part of it,
till 31st Henry VIII., when it was annexed to the newly-erected
bishopric of Bristol, and so continued until 1836, when its
ancient connection with Salisbury was revived, and still continues.

It will be as well to give a few particulars of the Bishops who
were successively appointed soon after the Reformation, as they
no doubt influenced to some extent the changes which took place
at that time in the matter of Church Plate. The patent for
erecting the bishopric of Bristol was dated 4th June, 1542.
On the 25th of that month Paul Bush was consecrated^first
Bishop. He had studied among the Augustin Friars, now
Wadham College, at Oxford. In 1553 he was deprived owing
B 2

to his marriage ; he then lived at Bristol and died there in 1558.
The second bishop was John Holyman, consecrated in 1554-
He was a strenuous preacher and writer against Luther, and died
1558. The third was Richard Cheyney, who held Bristol in
commendam with Gloucester, and died about 1579. The fourth
was John Bullington. He retired beyond the seas during the
reign of Queen Mary, and, as was the case with many others,
returned freighted with other notions of discipline than that
which the Church of England approves and maintains. He held the
see till 1589. Richard Fletcher was then consecrated. He had
attended Mary Queen of Scots in 1586; he was afterwards
translated to Worcester, and soon after to London. He disobliged
the Queen by marrying a handsome widow, and died neglected
in 1596.

After the Reformation the disposal of Church Plate in Dorset
was pretty much the same as that found in other counties. The
valuable possessions of the Monasteries and Chantry chapels,
including their Church Plate, had been confiscated at an early
period by Henry VHL ; but for some years after, in the parish
churches, a considerable part of their ancient wealth and church
goods remained unalienated ; a good deal, however, had been
disposed of by the parish authorities for repairs and other expenses.
It was not until towards the end of the reign of Edward VL that
a clean sweep vvas made of nearly all that was left. On April
2nd, 1552 (6 Edward VI.), the King fell sick, as recorded in his
Journal. On April 21st the following entry occurs: — "It was
agreed that Commissions should go out for to take certificate of
the superfluous Church Plate to Mine use, and to see how it hath
been embezeled." In May, 1552, the issue of Commissions to
persons of note in each county, or city, appears to have been in
progress, and they were directed to leave " one, two, or more
chalices or cuppes according to the multitude of people."

In Dorset the Commissioners appointed for this purpose by the
Government of Edward VI. were Sir Giles Strangways, Knt., Sir
John Horsey, Knt., Sir George De la Lynde, Knt., and Thomas
Trenchard, Esq. They were all representatives of well-known

and infliiculial Dorset families at thai time, anil were also con
nected by marriage. Sir Giles Strangways was grandson of Sir
Giles the elder, who obtained a grant from Henry VIII. of the
site of the Monastery and estates at Abbotsbury for the sum of
^1096 los., and died 1547. Sir Giles, the Commissioner, was
born 1524, and acquired a fair estate by marrying the co-heiress of
Wadham in 1547. He was knighted by Edward VI., 1549, and
died 1562. Sir John Horsey, Knt., of Clifton Maubank and
Melcombe Horsey, was son of that Sir John Horsey who died in
1546, and who purchased many Abbey lands temp. Henry VIII.,
amongst others, the site of the Abbey and Church of Sherborne and
the Priory of Longleat, Wilts. Sir John, the Commissioner, married
Edith, daughter of Richard Phelips of Montacute; he died 1564.
Sir George De la Lynde, of Clenston, was son of Sir Thomas who,
together with Sir Thomas Trenchard, was appointed Knight of
the Queen's retinue, to attend the interview at Guisnes between
Henry VIII. and the King of France. Sir George, the Commis-
missioner, was sheriff of Dorset 4tli Edward VI., and died 1556.
Thomas Trenchard, Esq., was of the ancient family of Trenchard
of Lytchett Matravers, the builders of Wolveton House.

In the Public Record Office is fortunately still preserved an
account of the church goods of the different parishes in the
County of Dorset, as taken by these Commissioners. It is con-
tained in a very long roll, written on both sides, (Exchequer,
Queen's Remembrancer, Church Goods, jy). That part only has
been copied which gives the number of chalices found by the
Commissioners, and the persons to whom (in all cases) a shtg/e
chalice was left for subsequent use in each parish. A reprint of
the whole MS. would be very desirable ; it gives the names of
the then ofificiating clergy as well as of some of the representative
parishioners.* The county was then divided into five Deaneries,

* It is curious that Edward VI. should have been in Dorsetshire about
the time his Commissioners were taking their inventories of church goods.
In June, 1552, the King began his last progress in great state but in declining
health. It had been arranged to proceed by Portsmouth to Poole, and thence
by Salisbury to Winchester . This order of proceeding was upset owing to the

as at present, with the same titles. These extracts will be found
printed in the Appendix, in the order in which they occur in the
MS. The document contains 265 entries ; of these 254 relate to
parish churches, and eleven to attached chapels. The number
of parishes which then possessed three chalices amounted to six,
namely. Long and Little Bridy (besides one previously sold by
the parishioners for 33s. 4d.), Corscomb, Cranborne, MarnhuU,
Bradford Abbas, and Sturminster Newton. The number of
churches having two chalices in use was fifty-five, and the re-
maining 204 had one each. In no case was more than a single
chalice retained by the parishioners. When two or more chalices
were found, it is invariably " the worst" or " the least" that is left
for future parish use. Nearly the whole of these were of silver,
many of them parcel-gilt ; in some cases the paten is mentioned,
but it does not appear whether this necessary adjunct of the
chalice was included in the plate left or not. In two instances,
that of East Holme and St. Martin's, Wareham, the chalices were
of " copper gilt."

It will be found that after a lapse of three centuries and a halt
very few changes have been made — most of the larger parishes
retain the same number of churches, the only exception being that
of the town of Wareham. In 1552 there were five churches and
the annexed chapel of Arne, all having their own plate ; now

breaking out of a pestilence at Poole. After spending three days at Christ-
church the King removed to Woodlands, near Cranborne, an old seat of the
Filiols, which had now passed by marriage to the Seymours. At this time
was issued " A proclamation to avoyde all manner of personss infected with
pestilence or other contagious diseases, or having any person in their houses
therewithal! infected, from the cuntre and other places whereunto the Kinges
Mat''^- 'P^'''^ . . • .

L.omiss tnere g, Q^^^gg Delalynde ) Knight & 1 money ....

I.Thome Trenchard I Esquier I pte of . . . .

[Addressed] To the right Wo''shipfull M'' Bernars one of the

Kinge and Quenes Ma"^-' Comyssioners geve


This answer does not seem to have been deemed sufficient, as
a prompt reply was sent from the Government, requiring the
Dorset Commissioners, or their representatives, to appear at
Westminster on June gth, " there to make a true and perfect
account, declaration, and certificate of all your doings, &c. — so as
for want thereof we shall not be driven to award any other
process against you, or any of you, for the same — which we would
be right loth to do." The letter to Sir John Horsey is as
follows : —

After our right hertie recomendacons Where we before this
tyme directed o"" Ires unto you Sir John Horsey and Mr.
Trenchard requyring you by the same for that ye were joyned
in Comiss w' oders for thordre of the Church goods w'in the
Countie of Dors and of y'' procedings and doings therin hadde
made no reconynge The Kinges and Quenes Ma''"^" desierous
to know by us theyr Highness Comyssioners in that behalf
in what case the church goods didde stande w'in all places in
this theyr Ma''" Realme requyring you that either you or oon
of you the seid Comyssioners or some oders sufficientlie
instructed by you should immediatlie upon the sight of o'"
seid Ires repayre hider w' the full declaracon of all your
dooings in that parte. For aunswere wherof we have receyved
Ires directed from you the seid Sir John unto me William
Earners being date the v"' of this Maye last passed wherin
you declare that S'' Giles Strangwais Knight being oon of you
was here att London in Easter terme in the first yer of hir
]y[a^ties reigne And delivered certeine plate and money to S''
Edmonde Peckham K. to her highness use which being true
in dede as noon (?) accompt or pfecte declaracon of yo'' hole
doings concerninge yo"' said charge Thies being therfor
■ eftsones to requyre you and every of you that oon of you or
sume such substantiall pson (as you will aunswer for) suf-
ficienriie instructed of all yo'^ procedings concernyng the
charge comytted unto you touching the goods catalls stocks
stores plate juelles and redy money comyng to yo'' hands or
any of you which didde belonge to any the churches w'in the
seid Countie t' appere before us att Westin on Tuesday which
shalbe ix"' of June nexte comyng thenne and there to make
a true and pfecte accompte declaracon and certificat of all
yo'' dooings in the premiss so as for want therof we shall not
be dryven to award any other process against you or any of
you for the same which we wold be right loth to do.

[No address or endorsement.]

The number of medieval pieces of church phite now remaining
in Dorset, which were in use before the Reformation and are still
devoted to the same purpose, amounts to only three.*

At Coombe Keynes is a very beautiful and perfect Chalice, the
date of which is about 1500. At Sturminster Marshall, a Chalice,
bearing the hall-mark of 1536, but not quite in its original state.
At Buckhorn Weston, a Paten, having the maker's mark only ; the
date may be about 15 10. It is well known that the evil estima-
tion in which the ecclesiastical reformers of Elizabeth's time held
the pre-Reformation Communion plate caused them to entertain
scruples and prejudices against its eucharistic use ; we find that
Parker and Grindall, with probably some other Anglican prelates,
about 1567, issuing certain articles and injunctions requiring the

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJames Edward NightingaleThe church plate of the county of Dorset. With extracts from the returns of church goods by the Dorset commissioners of Edward VI. 1552 → online text (page 1 of 19)