Church Plate

Print

.shadow css classSt George's lost its original communion vessels by burglary. On Saturday, December 17th, 1803, it was reported to the Vestrymen that some time between 6.15pm on the previous Thursday and 7.30am the following morning the iron chest in the Vestry had been opened, and the church plate, the two Beadles' silver-headed staves, and £42 14s. 4d of Sacrament money taken. A fresh set of plate was made by Laver, the silversmith of Bruton Street. The vessels are handsome but unwieldy, and are therefore seldom in use. The Beadles' staves of 1804, crowned with silver effigies of St George and the Dragon, are affixed to the Churchwardens' pews on Sundays. Modern silver vessels are now used at the Communion services. The most interesting and valuable piece was a silver casket for the Communion wafers, presented by the Countess of Cawdor at Easter in 1925. It was made up of four engraved plates, dated 1519, by Urs Graf, a celebrated Swiss draughtsman, engraver and silversmith. They were made originally for a reliquary containing the skull of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the great theologian and inspiration of the Cistercian Order, and depicted incidents in the life of the Saint. The casket, which was for many years on permanent loan to the British Museum, has now been sold to the National Museum of Switzerland.