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

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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 2 of 19)
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disuse of " massing chalices," and the substitution of " decent
Communion Cups." About this time the medieval chalice, left to
each parish, was gradually exchanged or replaced by the new
stereotyped cup and Paten cover, of which so many examples are
still found all over England. The form of the vessel is altogether
changed, and instead of having a shallow wide bowl it is elongated
into a tall bell-shaped cup, generally with a knot round the stem
and a band of foliated ornament engraved round the bowl.

The annexed woodcut will best explain the general form of an

* Within the last eight or ten years a very large addition has been made to
the number of medieval chalices and patens still found in use in English parish
churches ; before that time some half dozen Gothic chalices, and a rather larger
number of patens, were all that were then known to exist. Up to the present
time, excluding the coffin chalices found in tombs of ecclesiastics, twenty-
seven examples are known, besides some seventy-five patens. With rare
exceptions, all these are of dates ranging from about 1475 to 1536. Two of
the earliest specimens and the two latest are found in the diocese of Salisbury.
The interesting chalice, till lately in continuous use at Berwick St. James, Wilts,
is at least as old as the 13th century ; in the treasury of the Cathedral at
Salisbury are a chalice and paten, found in a tomb believed to be that of Bishop
Longespee, who deceased in 1297. Coming to the two latest known examples,
just on the eve of the Reformation, the paten at St. Edmund's, Salisbury, is
hall-marked 1533, and the chalice of Sturminster Marshall 1536.

An excellent classification of all these chalices and patens has lately been
formulated by Messrs. St. John Hope and Fallow ; it will be found printed in
the 43rd vol. of the Arch^ological Journal.

Elizabethan chalice with its Paten cover. This piece bears the
hall mark of 1576, and is the type of all the Dorset Elizabethan
cups, with an exception to be noted hereafter. The stem and
base of this typical example are, however, more richly decorated
than is often found.


Elizabeth..\n Chalicf, wiih I'aien Cover.

The main feature of the Dorset Church plate is the large
number of Chalices of this character, most of them retaining their
original Paten covers. They amount to no less than one hundred
and four, being a full third of the whole number of parishes in the
County. Of these, seventy-four examples bear either hall-marked


dates or inscribed dates, the earliest is a single cup marked 1562,
the latest two of 1591, while by far the larger number are of 1570
to 1574. There is one, probably an exceptional example, in-
scribed 1607.

Another interesting matter connected with these Chalices of
Queen Elizabeth's time is the existence of numerous examples
that are apparently of provincial manufacture ; they bear no
regular hall marks, but have instead a town or maker's symbol.
These are of two different types and by two different makers,
and neither of these marks has hitherto been found outside the
county of Dorset on plate still in its original place. Mr. Cripps
informs me that " a single mark is always a maker's mark. If
there is any local machinery for assaying plate and controlling its
quality, it makes a second mark, because an essential part of hall
marking is that the maker shall mark it first and the hall
countermark it."

Although provincial marks are often found in the neighbourhood
of Norwich, York, and Exeter, " in most other districts, even
when remote and inaccessible from London, the occurrence of
any marks but those of the Goldsmith's Company is very rare."
There could have been no lack of purveyors of Church Plate in
London about that time. " There were sixty-eight goldsmiths
living in Chepe in 1569, besides some twenty in Lombard-street :
these were the chief resorts of the craft."

The first of these provincial marks, of which an illustration is
here given, ' ^^ '^ found on plate in thirty parishes.

On cups '^ ^^^ with Paten covers there are twenty

examples, on cups without covers, eight ; and on Paten covers
remaining where the cups have disappeared, two. The majority
of these pieces have an inscribed date, varying from 1573 to 1578,
but about half the examples are of the year 1574. They are
distributed nearly all over the county, but the greater number are
found in the southern part. Most of them vary somewhat in
size and decoration, but as a rule they are pretty much the same
as those bearing the London assay mark. An undated chalice,
having this particular mark, was met with some years ago in the


hands of a London silversmith, who had probably obtained it by
exchange or purchase from some Dorset parish.

It would perhaps be too far-fetched to ascribe the monogram
S.L. to Salisbury. This city, however, certainly had the grant of
power of " assay of the touch " in 1423, but there is nothing to
show that it ever exercised this privilege. It is possible that
Dorchester may have been the place where these Chalices, &c., were
made. About that time the various tradesmen's crafts practised
there were much more extensive than at present. Later on, in
1630, the merchants and tradesmen were enrolled into a Company
of five classes ; the company of "Iremongers" included, amongst
other cognate trades, " Iremongers, Gouldsmythes, Pewterers,
Smyths, &c." We are also told that in other parts of the country,
where no silversmith existed, blacksmiths did silversmiths' work,
or, as one of their guild rules says, " Anything in the hammary
way." In the reign of Elizabeth religious party feeling ran very
high in the Dorchester district, and between 1583 and 1594 six
persons were executed under penal statutes and for denying the
Queen's ecclesiastical supremacy.

The second of these provincial marks, of which the annexed
illustration is given, /fiS>i is found on chalices of a somewhat
different type and ^^^ style of ornamentation from the
conventional Elizabethan cups. They bear rather more resem-
blance to the few remaining chalices known to have been made
in the time of Edward VI. They are found in fourteen parishes
with the mark more or less distinct, and in four others without the
mark, but as they all, but one, correspond so exactly in details,
their number may be said to be eighteen. It is remarkable that,
with one exception, they all occur in a limited part of the northern
portion of the county, that on the left bank of the river Stour.
In only two instances is there any guide to the date. That
belonging to the parish of Gillingham has the year 1574 inscribed
on the Paten cover, and this probably represents about the date
of all the others, with the exception of the cup and cover at
Tarrant Monkton, which is marked with the date 1607, together
with the names of the Churchwardens ; here the pattern engraved


round the bowl, the shape of the stem, and the domed form of the
Paten cover, all vary from the rest, and although bearing the same
mark, was doubtless made at the later period. The illustration of
the Gillingham cup will show the difference of treatment ; it will

Elizabethan Chalice makked

be seen that, instead of the usual knot on the stem, there is a
flange with cable moulding close up under the bowl, and a plain
band of intersecting strap-work engraved round the cup without

Of the remaining makers' marks found on this large number of
cups of the latter half of the i6th Century, seldom more than
two are by the same maker ; some of them are of considerable
interest, and have not been met with before. There is one
exception, however ; there are found nine examples in the southern
part of the county of a maker whose works are not unfrequently
seen elsewhere, that of H W, with a pellet above and below,
enclosed within a quatrefoil ; these are all of the dates 157 1-2-3.

As a rule, the plate anterior to A.D. 1600 is found more
abundantly in the less frequented districts, and very little in the
more prosperous towns. In the Rural Deanery of Abbotsbury,
consisting of fourteen parishes, seven of them still retain their
Chalices and Paten covers, varying in date from 1570 to 1577 ;
the parish of Abbotsbury itself had its old cup as late as 1836,
marked 1574- Only one chalice is found of the 17th Century,
and one of the rSth, whilst the whole of the remainder are of the
present reign. The probability is that, until a comparatively late
period, the greater part of the chalices in this district were of the
Elizabethan date. Now as we know that each parish was left
with one medieval chalice at the time of the visitation of
Edward VI.'s Commissioners a few years before, the rule ordering
the substitution of " decent Communion cups," in place of
" massing chalices," must have been a very stringent one.

Besides the large number of Elizabethan chalices, there are
some other examples of unusual design. At Shipton Gorge is a
chalice and cover of flat shape, the bowl resembling the medieval
types ; the engraved foliated pattern is of Elizabethan character ;
it has no mark, and is probably provincial work of the end of the
1 6th Century. At Wraxall is another cup of uncommon shape
and decoration. At Whitchurch Canonicorum is a Paten probably
home made, with characteristic punched ornamentation. At
Winterborne Whitchurch is a shallow cup with handles, hall
marked 1653, possibly not made for Church use, but copied for a
neighbouring parish in 1768. At Mosterton, a chalice with paten
cover, given in 17 14, is of unusual design. At Swanage is a fine
set of the period, given in 1693. The most remarkable, perhaps


is the series of Altar services given by Mrs. Strangways Horner to
several parishes in which she was interested, about the middle of
the last century. The first was presented to Stinsford in 1736,
consisting of a Chalice, Paten and Flagon, made by the celebrated
silversmith Paul Lamerie. Some years later similar gifts were
made to Abbotsbury, Melbury Osmund and Melbury Sampford,
either by the same maker or made after his design. To these
were added, afterwards, a knife with richly embossed handle and

There are only a few examples found of plate made for domestic
use, and afterwards given to the Church. The finest is a large
cup and cover at Melbury Sampford, of the year 1683. At
Tincleton there is a handsome cup and cover, probably of
German manufacture. At Winterborne Whitchurch and at Turn-
worth are the two curious handled cups used as chalices, one of
which is engraved. At Hinton Parva is a large cup of the year
1765. At Mapperton is another unusual piece.

The Flagons found in Dorset are of the usual tankard type ; a
cylindrical body rising from a spreading base, and furnished with
a curved handle and flat or domed lid ; these are oftentimes of
unwieldy size. Vessels of this kind were not in church use in
medieval times, the only things then required being the two small
cruets for wine and water. After the Reformation the earliest
Flagons were made somewhat in the shape of the old cruet, a
good example of which exists in Salisbury Cathedral, but soon
after 1606 they assumed the domestic tankard form, and have so
continued till the present generation, when some attempt has been
made to return to a more ecclesiastical type. Pewter vessels
have almost disappeared, and in nearly all cases have ceased to
be used.

Speaking roughly, out of about three hundred parishes in the
county, over a hundred retain their Elizabethan chalices ; the
number possessing communion plate of the 17th century amounts
to about seventy ; in the i8th century large additions of single
pieces, as well as of sets, were made to many parish churches ;
while, as regards plate belonging to the current century, the greater


part of which is of the present reign, some fifty parishes are
found to have exchanged their old plate for new.

If these returns had been made some fifty years ago, no doubt
a considerable number of additional Elizabethan and 17th century
chalices would have been found.

It is extremely difficult to trace the destination of old plate
which has gone astray ; a good deal was formerly melted down,
but that is no longer the case, old plate with genuine hall marks
being much too valuable to be so dealt with. It cannot be too
widely known that it is illegal to alienate Church Plate from a
parish without a legal faculty. The gradual disappearance of old
chalices shows that the inscription on a cup given by Langton,
Bishop of Winchester, to Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1497,
might still have its use, " Qui alienaverit anathema sit." On
another chalice, of 151 7, formerly belonging to the parish of
Leyland, but now in other hands, is rudely engraved the almost
pathetic inscription, "Restore-mee-to-leyland-in- Lankeshire."

The Parish of Marnhull still retains its old portable Offertory
collecting Box. It is made of oak, and is of rectangular shape,
with a small projecting handle. Appropriate legends are carved
on it, as well as the date of gift, 1633. This is probably one of
the oldest existing examples of the kind ; there is one preserved
at Chelmorton church, Derbyshire, dated 1685.


The Mount, Wii.ton, Salisbury,
February, 1S89.



Abbotsbury. — A massive service of silver-gilt, consisting of a
Chalice, gfin. in height, with the maker's mark of the weight,
17 oz. 18 dwts ; two Patens, one measuring S^in. diam.,
weighing 15 oz. 5 dwts., the other 5 fin. diam., 5 oz. 14 dwts. ;
and a covered Flagon, 1 2Ain. in height, 40 oz. 5 dwts. The chalice
and two patens bear the hall mark for the year 1 748, the maker's
mark D P, with a pellet above, for Daniel Piers. The Flagon is
of the same date, and bears the maker's mark of the celebrated
Paul Lamerie, the letters P L under a crown and a small annulet
beneath, as in O.E.P., under 1739. Each piece has the sacred
monogram engraved within a rayed circle, and is inscribed under-
neath, " The Gift of Mrs. Strangways Horner 1748," to which is
added her coat of arms. In a lozenge, with supporters, quarterly,
I arid 4 Tivo lions passant for Strangways ; 2 and 3 Three talbots
passant for Horner ; over all, on an escutcheon of pretence. Two
lions passant. Motto, Soys joyevx et ne dovbte Pont. There is
besides a "bread cutter," consisting of a knife with richly embossed
handle and sheath of silver-gilt, measuring lofin. in length. This
bears no hall mark, but is inscribed, "The Gift of Mrs. Strangways
Horner to the parish of Abbotsbury 1755." The steel blade of
the knife bears the name Gillo.

The design of these pieces will be seen in the annexed illustra-
tion. Mrs. Strangways Horner gave similar sets to Stinsford in
1737 ; to Melbury Osmund in 1747 ; to Melbury Sampford in
1748. Her first gift of plate to Stinsford Church in 1737 was
made wholly by Paul Lamerie, and the rest were all copied e.xactly
from his designs, although in a few cases made by other hands.
The engraving of the winged cherubs on the base of the Flagon
is very delicately done, but he has hardly succeeded in improving
much the prevalent tankard shape of the period.

The donor of this plate was Susan, only daughter and heir of
Thomas Strangways, Esq., of Melbury Sampford, who represented
the senior branch of the ancient house of Strangways ; he was
the last male representative of the family. Her ancestor, Thomas
Strangways, of Stinsford, on the part of his wife, Alianor, a
benefactress to the Monastery of Abbotsbury, had founded a
Chantry there in 1505. The Abbot was bound to provide a
monk to pray daily for the souls of the deceased members of the
family " for ever." This mass to be called " Strangeway's Masse."
Their grandson, Sir Giles Strangways, received the grant of the
Manor of Abbotsbury from Henry VHI. His grandson, again,
was one of the Commissioners for taking the inventories of
church goods under Edward VI. Mrs. Strangways Horner
married Thomas Horner, Esq., of Mells, co. Somerset. On the
death of her brother and sisters, without issue, she succeeded to
the family estates, and, together with her husband, assumed the
name of Strangways. Thomas Strangways Horner dying in 1741,
she spent the latter part of her life in acts of piety and charity.
She built, repaired, or ornamented* several churches, and contri-
buted largely to various charitable foundations, amongst others to
the schools of Abbotsbury. She died 1758, and was buried with
her husband at Mells.

On searching the registers of the parish some tidings of the old
plate have been found. In the year 1836, after enumerating
the pieces of plate which are now in use, the following entry is
made : — "Also i old Chalice with the date 1574." At the pre-
sent time nothing is known as to what became of this Elizabethan

Long Bridy (with Little Bridv). — There are now in use at
Long Bridy two Elizabethan Chalices with their Paten covers,
of the dates 1570 and 1577. It is probable that one of these
belonged originally to the latter parish. The first measures Bin.
in height ; the hall marks are the black letter small It for 1570 ;

* Some of Mrs. Straugways Horner's alterations would hardly be thought
improvements at the present day. Ilutchins, writing in 1773, says that the
large east window of the Chancel of Abbotsbury, having five cinque-foil
headed lights and tracery above, containing some considerable remains of
stained glass, " was stopped up on erecting the handsome altar-piece, con-
taining the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments, in gold letters on
a black ground, in stucco, between two Corinthian pillars, in I75l> 3' the
expense of the late Mrs. Strangways Horner."

the maker's mark, an orb surmounted by a cross, found also at
Charminster on a chalice of the same year. The shape is that of
the well-known Elizabethan type, introduced in the latter half of
the 1 6th century. The bowl has straight sides, with a slightly
projecting lip. There is a knot in the middle of the stem, and
an ornamental moulding round the outer base. The decoration
consists of the conventional band of intersecting foliated strap-
work engraved round the bowl. The second chalice and cover
are of the same dimensions, with similar ornamentation. The
form of the bowl varies slightly from the earlier example, being
somewhat more bell-shaped. It has no regular hall marks, but,
instead, is found what in all probability is a provincial maker's
mark, . ,^^ On the cover is inscribed the date iktj

It is *^ ^^' interesting to find these two chalices m

the same parish ; probably the cup inscribed 1577 was made by
a local silversmith after the design of the London hall-marked
chalice of 1570. — A Paten without foot, gin. diam., bearing
the hall mark of 1825, and inscribed "Long Bredy, A.D. 1825." —
Also a tankard-shaped Flagon, ii^in. high, with the same date
and inscription.

Little Bridy. — A Chalice of silver gilt, 7|in. in height, with
hall marks of the present reign. It has a bell-shaped bowl, with
spirally fluted stem and base. Another modern chalice of similar
dimensions, of gilt metal, with ornamental bowl and base. — Two
Patens with the hall mark of 1850, engraved with the Agnus Dei
on the rim.

C.'i.TTiSTOCK. — A Chalice, Paten, and Flagon of silver gilt,
bearing the marks of the Birmingham assay for 1852, all of good
medieval design and ornamentation. They are inscribed " The
gift of Thomas Walter Still, brother of the Rector, A.D. 1857."
The Rev. Henry Hughes Still rebuilt the Church in 1857. — An
ancient latten Alms-dish with a figure of the Blessed Virgin and
Child, also a gilt Spoon with crystal bowl, both of foreign workman-
ship. Hutchins, in the first edition of his History of Dorset, has
the following entry " A silver chalice and cover, belonging to this
church, by an inscription on it, were given by Lady Ann Paulet
(Strode), of Chantmarle." The cup seems to have disappeared.
The donor of it was Ann, daughter of Thomas Brown, of Walcot,
CO. Northampton, and relict of John Lord Paulet, of Hinton,

She was the second wife of Sir John Strode, of Chantmarle, near
Cattistock ; he was born 1624, ob. 1679.

Chilfrome. — A Chalice, 7^in. in height, a Paten, 4|in. diam.,
bearing the hall marks of the present reign. The design of the
chalice is from a medieval example.

CoMPTON Abbas. — A modern Chalice, parcel gilt, copied from
a medieval pattern, with perforated stem, and hall marked 1859. —
A silver Paten inscribed " G.M. The Gift of the Rev. G. Meech
1828," and bearing the Exeter assay mark for that year.

Langton Herring. — An Elizabethan Chalice with Paten
cover, height of the cup 6 gin. It is of the ordinary type, and has
a single band of interlaced foliated strap-work engraved round the
bowl, and a decorative moulding round the base. The hall
mark is the black letter p for the year 1572 ; the maker's, the
letters H W with a pellet above and below, enclosed within a
quatrefoil. This maker's mark, see O.E.P. under 1563, is found
on no less than nine Elizabethan Cups in this part of the county,
the dates varying from 1571 to 1573. On the top of the paten
cover is inscribed the year 1573. — A Paten and Flagon electro-
plated, and an Alms-dish of pewter.

Lytton Cheney. — An Elizabethan Chalice and Paten cover,
height 6in., with cover 7in. The form is of the usual type, with a
band of foliated and intersecting strap-work round the bowl, and
egg and tongue moulding round the base. It bears the single
mark, ^^^ ^^ ^^'^ ^^^ *^^'^ '574 '* inscribed on the

cover. "*> ^^ — A small shallow circular bowl, with

two handles, and embossed ornamentation, nearly 3in. diam., and
one inch in height, marked with the leopard's head only. These
vessels, sometimes called " tasters," were in use about the latter
half of the 17th century, and are occasionally found amongst
Church plate as gifts. At the bottom is inscribed, " Gift of Mr.
Edward Henvill, 1716, to the Church of Litton." The date of
this bowl, which is now used at private Communion, is probably
somewhat earlier than this. The donor was buried here 6th
April, 1716. — A silver Paten, with gadroon edge, 7^in. diam. It
is of the Britannia standard of the year 1700. The maker's mark

is C. O. surmounted by a crown, that of John Cory. On the
surface is engraved, " The Gift of Richard Henvell, of Loake,
Gent., to the Parish Church of Litton." Below this is his coat
of arms, A lion rampant between eight cross crosslets. Crest, An
eagle's head between two 7i

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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 2 of 19)