[From Old Church Plate,1907]


ALTHOUGH the Isle of Man contains in proportion to its geographical area a larger number of sculptured monuments1of the early Christian period than any other part of the British Isles, yet no sacramental vessels of any description, in a complete or fragmentary condition, nor even one of the small iron or bronze hand-bells (which survive in large numbers in their country of origin, Ireland, and in Scotland and Wales) connected with the early Celtic Church in Man, have come down to the present day.

Any vessel composed wholly or partially of precious or semi-precious material suffered the fate which in many cases befell the ecclesiastical plate in other parts of these islands during times of social and religious unrest.

The earliest and only authentic record of ecclesiastical plate of Latin Christianity in this island is to be found in the Rolls, 32 Henry VIII., of Rushen Abbey, founded in 1134 by the Cistercians of Furness. Here, prior to its dissolution about 1539, was preserved a rich display of silver plate, which found its way into the hands of the Earl of Derby, who paid the sum of £34 8s. 8d. for the whole of this treasure — consisting of four chalices,2 one abbot's pastoral staff, one censer, a cross, two little headless crosses, one ship,3 a bishop's head and hand,4 four cruets,5 eleven spoons, two standing cups, two ale pots and covers, a drinking cup, one salt, two mazers,6 and one pix. The contents of the abbey included, as will be observed, not only the necessary ecclesiastical vessels for the services of the Church, but also purely domestic plate, such as that important adjunct of the table in the Middle Ages — the salt. A belief survives to this day in the Isle of Man, among those who have made no enquiries on the subject, that this treasure of Rushen has been handed down through successive generations to the present Earl of Derby ; whereas, as a matter of fact, the whole of the Stanley family plate, together with this treasure and £40,000 in money, went towards the cause of Charles I. in the Civil War.

The Isle of Man can, happily, still show two medieval or pre-Reformation silver vessels — a chalice and a paten. The chalice, which is at Kirk Patrick of Jurby (Plate 1.), is in a fairly good state of preservation, and bears the London date-letter for 1521-2, and an unknown maker's mark — two links of a chain — as on a chalice of the same type in S. Mary's Roman Catholic Church at Leyland, Lancashire, formerly in the parish church at that place, and on two patens in East Anglia — one of 1509-10, at Great Hockham, Thetford ; and the other of 1521-2, at Great Waltham, Essex. This chalice was probably provided when the bishop of Sodor and Man was Hugh Hesketh. Five other chalices of this same type, in addition to those of Jurby and Leyland, are preserved in different parts of England ; and all these, with the exception of the one at Ebbesbourne, Wiltshire, are enumerated on page 7. The earliest of these is 1507-8, while the latest is 1527-8.

The medieval silver paten referred to is at Kirk Malew (Plate II.). Engraved on the rim is the legend —

Sancte Lupe Ora pro Nobis.

now faint with long usage and restoration. The Vernicle, or face of our Lord, enclosed in a glory of long rays, is engraved in the sunk sexfoil centre. This inscription had long been supposed, by later Latin Christianity and throughout post-Reformation times, to connect Kirk Malew Church with S. Lupus, a pupil of S. German's; but it is now believed to refer to the Irish saint Moliba or Molipa under a Latinized form.7

A brief sketch of the main features in the evolution in the form of the medieval massing chalice — of which only some forty exist — in England may not be out of place here.

From about the beginning to the middle of the thirteenth century the bowl of the chalice is almost hemispherical, broad and shallow, while the stem, knop and foot are circular and plain. A slight departure in detail from this is observable in the magnificent chalice, probably the finest English medieval chalice extant,8 which was found with the companion paten near Dolgelley, in North Wales, some years ago.

This is succeeded by a type existing from 1250 to 1275, where the shape of the bowl remains almost unchanged, though a difference in the knob and stem is now apparent, the knop in one instance being octagonal and in two others eight-lobed. The last quarter of the same century witnesses the introduction of an enriched foot with a series of lobes radiating from below the stem over the foot, the stem being circular in two specimens and octagonal in another, the shape of the knop also varying.

From 1300 to 1360, if the inference drawn from the only example so far discovered is correct — namely, the one at York Minster — the chalice would seem to be somewhat taller and the bowl deeper and more conical in form than the previous types. The foot remains circular ; the stem is cylindrical, taller and more slender; and the knop eight-lobed. This example, too, is of special interest from the fact that it illustrates the introduction into England of the engraved crucifix on the foot.

The next development noticed is the adoption of a curved hexagonal or mullet-shaped foot, to the exclusion of the circular foot, as a result of the increasing practice in the fourteenth century of laying the chalice on its side on the paten at the ablutions at Mass, the shape of the foot effectually preventing the chalice from moving.

Later, the circular stem gives way to the hexagonal, and the knop is six-sided.

This is followed by a type, existing from about 1450 to 1510, the main characteristics of which, though there are differences in decorative details, are a deep and conical bowl and a plain hexagonal stem divided by a large six-lobed knop, the lobes being decorated in some examples with faces of angels, as on the Jurby chalice, or lozenge-shaped ornaments decorated with roses or other flowers, in most cases originally enamelled. The knop is mostly pierced, and the foot remains six-sided, and in later specimens the points terminate in small pierced ornaments, added, it is conjectured, to save the sharp points from causing damage to the cloths on the altar. An inscription —

Calicem salutaris accipiam ot nomen Domini invocabo
(Psalm cv. Sarum Breviary),

is engraved on the bowls of two chalices of this period. To this period belong the earliest existing pieces of English plate, either ecclesiastical or domestic, with the London date-letter — 1479 — the well-known chalice and paten at Nettlecombe, Somerset.

The next stage in the evolution is the introduction of a sexfoil foot, the bowl becoming nearly hemispherical, while the stem and knop remain almost unchanged, except that the latter is not always pierced. The most interesting example in this group is the only pre-Reformation chalice of gold that has escaped destruction — namely the one, dated 1507-8, preserved with its paten at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and given by the founder, Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester.

Finally, the chalice, in its form and decoration, during the few eventful years preceding the dawn of the Reformation in England, becomes more ornate under the influence of the architecture of that time. The bowl, which still remains shallow and broad at the bottom, is inscribed in every instance but one with a legend, as is also the foot, the most common legend being the one already mentioned from Psalm cv., Sarum Breviary. The stem of one chalice has beautiful quatrefoil tracery from top to bottom, with cables applied to the angles; two others have plain unpierced stems, and another is buttressed at the angles. A pierced gallery, with a vase-shape buttress at each angle, adorns the junction of the stem with the foot, which is a wavy-sided hexagon, though in one example the earlier sexfoll form has been retained. The only change seen in the knop is that it is slightly flatter, and it is without traceried openings.

The medieval silver paten may be divided into seven groups. In the twelfth and thirteenth century, from about 1180 to 1260, the lower depression is quatrefoil, with various symbols engraved in the centre, followed by a type prevailing from 1260 to 1300 with a lower depression or single depression, octofoil or multifoil, though there are variations from this main type.

Throughout the first half of the next century, the fourteenth, the lower depression is sexfoil, and the central device usually the Manus Dei.

This in its turn gives way to a paten of similar outline, with the addition of a rayed ornament filling the spandrels, and the most frequent symbol in the centre is the Vernicle, or face of our Lord.

The sexfoil depression is superseded in the fifth type by a single circular depression, and the centre is more generally occupied by the sacred monogram I.H.C. or I.H.S.

In the next group the lower depression is sexfoll, with a central device surrounded by a glory of long rays filling the field of the paten, and the rim is engraved with a legend. The paten at Kirk Malew belongs to this group.

In the final stage of the pre-Reformation paten the single depression is circular, with the Vernicle surrounded by a glory of long rays, the rim being engraved with a legend. The date of this type is from about 1520 to 1535.

Though every county throughout England and Wales contains innumerable examples of the early post-Reformation chalice, or Elizabethan Communion Cup, in many instances transformed from the original massing chalice, and in the main following one type — viz.: a beaker-shape bowl, curved at the lip, and engraved with an interlaced strap-work belt of foliage, supported by a stem divided by a compressed knop, the foot always circular, with a small paten-cover fitting closely over the lip of the cup — yet no single specimen of this kind has been found in any Manx church, nor can the author discover that such a cup was ever adopted in the island. This may be accounted for by the tenacious hold on the people of many of the customs of the un-Reformed Church long after such " reliques of popish superstition" had been abandoned in England.

The Isle of Man is not, however, without one piece of Elizabethan plate — the fine beaker of 1591 — is preserved with the other valuable plate at Kirk German (Plate III.). It is considerably curved towards the lip, which is engraved with a plain intersecting band filled with conventional foliage (as on many of the Elizabethan Communion Cups just described), a spray of three roses suspending from each intersection. The border of the applied foot has a delicate ovolo moulding. Three other pieces of plate are recorded with the same unknown maker's mark, and these are mentioned on page 2.

How this rare example came into the possession of this church neither documentary, traditional, nor inscribed evidence can be adduced to determine. Though made during the episcopate of the first Bishop of the Reformed Church in the Isle of Man, John Meryck, we cannot, in the absence of other evidence, say that he or any other Manx Churchman of that period purchased it at the expense of the parish or bestowed it as a gift upon the Church.

This beaker has, however, created a taste for beakers as Communion Cups in the island, just as this form of Dutch domestic drinking-cup, first introduced into Scotland through Aberdeen by traders from the Low Countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was adopted by Scotch silversmiths as a Communion vessel in the north-east of Scotland, where it is confined to parishes in Forfarshire, Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Morayshire, and Nairnshire, and 3 found as far north as Orkney and Shetland, though, interesting to note, it does not exist in any churches south of the Tay, with the solitary exception of the parish of Biggar, in Lanarkshire. Some of the beakers in the district of Aberdeen are of foreign workmanship.

The same traders, too, and also the Protestant refugees who sought protection from the religious persecutions in the Netherlands, are responsible for the introduction of this same type of beaker on the east coast of England in the sixteenth century. The defunct Dutch church at Norwich owned four splendid beakers of the year 1595, made by a Norwich craftsman, probably of Dutch descent. Three of these beakers are now in private collections, while the fourth is in the Museum at Amsterdam. Other fine beakers have been recorded in the same county, among them the Elizabethan beaker of 1574, and the remarkable plain set of six of the Commonwealth period, dated 1654, and engraved with the initials of the donors, all belonging to the old Independent Meeting House at Great Yarmouth.

Beakers like the one at Kirk German were made in England in small numbers until the reign of Charles I., when they became plainer.

While we have seen the gradual adoption of the beaker as a sacramental cup in one part of Scotland, in other parts of the same country a low, tazza form of cup of the seventeenth century prevails — a cup obviously inspired by the mazer of maple wood on a silver-mounted stem of the middle of the sixteenth century belonging to S. Mary's College, S. Andrew's, and the S. Leonard's Mazer, also at S. Andrew's.

The beaker became known in Holland as the "Lady's Cup," and is frequently depicted with the " Gentleman's Cup," the tazza, in Dutch pictures of the seventeenth century, especially in those of Pieter and Willem Claesz.

It found its way, too, across the Atlantic to America, where a few historic specimens of the silversmith's work of the early settlers from England in Massachusetts and their immediate descendants are preserved in the earliest churches established there, notably a beaker decorated with an engraved band of foliage, made by David Jesse about 1672, and now in the First Church at Dorchester. Another interesting beaker belonging to the same New England church is one covered with a broad band of granulated work, which has its counter-part in the beaker at the First Church at Boston, wrought by John Hull and Robert Sanderson, who were in partnership as silversmiths at Boston from 1652 to 1683. Hull went out as a boy from his English home in Leicestershire, and shortly after reaching his new home turned his hand to the trade of a goldsmith, afterwards becoming, with his partner and friend, Robert Sanderson, responsible for the coining of the first American coinage — the pine-tree shillings of Massachusetts.

The Kirk German beaker is followed, in point of age, by the fine one of Dutch workmanship, delicately engraved, dating from about 1600 (Plate vi., No. 2), given in 1747 to S. Paul's, Ramsey, bv Dr. Thomas Wilson, son of Bishop Wilson, who had previously bestowed, in 1735, together with a silver paten and some pewter vessels, the plain silver beaker on the new church of Kirk Lonan (Plate x., No. 2). A plain beaker, made by an Irish artificer, and hall-marked at Dublin in 1708-10 (Plate x., No. i), was given to Kirk Patrick by J. Holroyd, a friend of Bishop Wilson. A small French one of about 1730 is preserved at Kirk Marown with a larger plain beaker, probably English, of Queen Anne's reign (Plate viii., No. 2). At Kirk German is a tall plain beaker, originally the gift of an unknown benefactor, one John Crane, and later "renewed by Captain Philip Cowell." S. Matthew's, Douglas, claims a small plain beaker of 1741, presented by Elizabeth Murrey, and made by Richard Richardson, one of six silversmiths of the well-known Richardson family who flourished at Chester from 1697 to about 1812 (Plate ix.). A notable Manxman, Rev. Philip Moore, gave a small beaker (Plate v.) to Kirk Braddan in 1745. Most interesting of all is the unique beaker at Kirk Santon (Plate xii.), plain and massive, fashioned by a Manx craftsman in 1758, one Thomas Appleby, of Douglas, whose identity cannot, unfortunately, be determined. Though not old, the silver beaker at S. Paul's, Ramsey (Plate vi., No. 2), is not without interest, having been given by Bishop Vowler Short.

It will thus be seen from this list that no fewer than ten beakers have been found in this small island, and no two are alike.

The Kirk German beaker is followed in point of date by the plain silver chalice with inverted bell-shape bowl on a baluster stem of the reign of Charles I., dated 1637-8, at Kirk Conchan (Plate vi., No. 1). In the same church is an interesting reproduction of this same chalice of the reign of George III., 1802-3. This type of cup is the successor of a cup with V-shape bowl, embossed with foliage, on a baluster stem; and of another cup with a plain V-shape or oviform bowl on a high, slender baluster stem, both of the reign of James I. Cups like the Conchan chalice were made throughout the reign of Charles I. and the Commonwealth as late as the Restoration, when the bowl exhibits a tendency to become flatter at the base. The historic silver chalice, similar to that at Kirk Conchan, in which Charles I. received the last Communion on the scaffold at the hands of Bishop Juxon, is now in the possession of the Duke of Portland.

This diocese of Sodor and Man contains in the tall chalice or cup, and the flagon at Kirk German, two rare and valuable examples of plate wrought during the Commonwealth — that disturbed period in English history — when the amount of plate produced was necessarily very limited. Though made at that time, in the year 1650, this cup did not come into the possession of that church until twenty years later, the donor being the successor in the see of Bishop Isaac Barrow, Henry Bridgeman (1671-82), whose chief claim to distinction appears to be that he visited his see only twice. The bowl of the cup has a granulated surface, and in the centre the arms of the see, impaling the Bishop's arms, are engraved.

Tall cups on baluster stems of this type, the bowls frequently covered with a matted or granulated surface, except for a narrow plain margin at the lip and base, as on the Kirk German cup, succeeded the more ornate cups with repoussë bowls, frequently with covers surmounted by a " steeple," of the reign of James I. An early example of the year 1629 is in a private collection, and several of the City Companies own specimens. One of 1649 belongs to the Haberdashers' Company; and three others, the " Hinde Cup" of 1654, the " Osborne Cup" of 1658, and the " Stockton Cup" of 1682, form part of the treasures of the Innholders' Company. An early one, dated 1650, is in the possession of the Skinners' Company; and a large one with a cover, of three years later, is owned by the Barber Surgeons. The unique " Blacksmiths' Cup," dated 1655-6, formerly the property of the Blacksmiths' Company, has a bowl with the same granulated surface as on those already enumerated, but the baluster stem is replaced by one of appropriate symbolism — the figure of a black-smith.

The other piece of Commonwealth plate at Kirk German is the plain cylindrical flagon (Plate iv.), which is dated 1653-4. The original flat cover, however, has been replaced by a tall domed one. It is not only interesting from the scarcity of plate of this period, but also because of the engraved representation of the Good Shepherd by a contemporary artist — an unusual feature in English plate, especially of this date. The finest English chalice with pictorial engraving known to the author is the unique chalice of 1610, which is engraved with figures of S. Mary the Virgin, S. Mary Cleophas, and S. Mary Salome, given to the church at Beddgelert by Sir John Williams, goldsmith to James I. An interesting silver chalice of 1670 of a medieval type, in the private chapel of Earl Ferrers at Staunton Harold, is engraved with a figure of the Good Shepherd and the inscription, "My blood is drinke indeed " ; a chalice and paten of five years earlier, with a representation of Abraham offering up Isaac, are at S. Botolph, Aldgate ; and an alms-dish with the Lord's Supper depicted thereon was given in 1751 to S. Lawrence, Jewry. The list is extended by the curious little chalice, engraved with the Crucifixion, at Kirk Andreas (Plate viii., No. i); by the immense silver-gilt alms-dish of 1660-1 with representation of the Last Supper, in relief, in the centre, belonging to the Chapel Royal, S. James's Palace; and by a silver chalice of 1627. at Steynton, in Pembrokeshire, engraved with the Last Supper; and a chalice of nine years later, with the Christian symbol, a pelican in her piety, at S. Thomas's, Haverfordwest, in the same county. Worthy of inclusion, too, is the splendid silver-gilt alms-dish of about 1683, embossed with a composition in high relief of the Last Supper from an Italian design, at S. James's Church, Piccadilly.

Nineteen other tall silver chalices or cups on stems are included in this volume, the third in order of date after the two already described being the large plain chalice with beaker shape bowl on a trumpet-shape stem, of the reign of Charles II., at S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown (Plate xi.). With it is its original paten-cover, which, as is scarcely necessary to remark, was intended for the double purpose of a cover and a paten. Contrary to the usual custom, the foot of this paten-cover is engraved with the Agnus Dei. The feet are invariably plain at this time, except for a date. Later in this century they are frequently engraved with the sacred monogram, I.H.S. No inscription appears on this chalice with paten-cover, nor does any record exist as to whether it was purchased for the consecration in 1701 of this the first church erected during the eventful episcopate of Bishop Wilson, or whether it was provided by William, ninth Earl of Derby, who was instrumental in the erection of S. Mary's Chapel.9

This type of plain, unadorned chalice on a trumpet-shaped stem with paten-cover, with variations in size, is first noticed in the reign of Charles I., becoming more numerous at the Restoration, and remaining in vogue to a limited extent until the early part of the eighteenth century. Cotemporary with it, and more common, was a chalice with the same style of bowl, varying in holding capacity, but with a depressed knob in the centre of the stem.

Allusion has already been made to a rare little chalice at Kirk Andreas (Plate viii., No. i). It has more than one feature of interest : the crudely engraved Crucifixion, with the sacred letters I.H.S. above, and the inscription —

"Andreas Cristi famulus,"

below ; and another feature is the short vase-shape stem cut into six lobes. At the base of the bowl is a rope-twist moulding. A chalice with the same shape of bowl, and with similar rope-twist moulding, on a short, plain, vase-shape stem, dating from about 1690, is at Pentir, near Bangor, in North Wales; and two others of 1670, the stems, however, trumpet-shape, belong to Hapton Congregational Chapel, near Norwich. Though the Kirk Andreas chalice bears no other mark than the initials of an unknown silversmith, perhaps provincial — whether English, Scotch, or Irish it is impossible to say — its date may be assigned to the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

The next chalice in chronological order is at S. Matthew's, Douglas. This is quite plain, and has a beaker-shape bowl on a high stem divided by a knop. It was doubtless made in 1710 to the order of an unknown benefactor, Major Charles Nicholson, whose name is inscribed. The only marks on it are the maker's initials, S. H., and the word STERLING — the latter a mark used by Irish silversmiths at Cork between 1710 and 1719 as a guarantee of quality, and at Limerick at the end of the eighteenth century. Chester silversmiths, too, at the end of the seventeenth century stamped their productions with this mark. Though the maker's name remains for the present unidentified, the place of origin of this chalice was probably Cork. It served as a model for the second chalice at S. Matthew's, as will be seen from a comparison of the illustrations on Plate ix. It is stamped with the Chester date-letter for 1790-1, and the maker's mark, I. H., which is believed by the author to represent the initials of Isaac Hadwine [Gore's 1790 directory Isaac Hadwen, 34 Pool Lane], a Liverpool silversmith, who, with others from the same city, are known to have had their plate marked at Chester as the nearest assay office.

A chalice of some interest, not on account of age or rarity of form, but on account of its sacred association with its donor and with the church of the parish where it is now preserved, Kirk Michael, is illustrated on Plate vii. The inscription records that it was the gift, in 1755, of Dr. Thomas Wilson, son of Bishop Wilson, to the parish of his nativity. Twenty-one years later he rebuilt the chancel of this church, and among his other benefactions to the Church in the Isle of Man are the Communion vessels at Kirk Lonan and S. Paul's, Ramsey. This chalice was made in London in 1754.-5, where the donor had been Prebendary of Westminster and Rector of S. Stephen's, Walbrook, and S. Margaret's, Westminster.

The larger silver chalice at Kirk Braddan (Plate v.), made in London a year later, is in its form very similar to that at Kirk Michael, and the purchaser may have been actuated in his choice by this one.

The later silver chalices on tall stems in the Isle of Man call for no special comment. There are two plain ones, with bell-shape bowls, exactly alike in shape and size, of London make of the year 1793, at Kirk Christ Lezayre (Plate xv.). Two others of a different type, with plain oviform bowls, resting on circular bases with beaded borders, and engraved with a shield of arms, described on page 25, probably those of the donor (whose name cannot be traced), are at Kirk Malew. Both are dated 1781-2, and are illustrated on Plate xiv., No. i. Similar in form are the two of 1795-6 at Ballaugh (Plate xiv., No. 2).

Another variety of chalice (Plate xiii.) is at Kirk Maughold. Though inscribed with the date 1831, together with the name of the parish and the names of the four wardens, it was made in London in 1812-13. A massive plain one (Plate viii., No. i), made at Sheffield in 1820-21, belongs to Kirk Andreas; and an ornate chalice of 1827-8, given in 1830, with a paten, by Robert Quayle, is at S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown.

The two chalices belonging to the massive silver Communion service of 1777 (Plate xvi.) at S. George's, Douglas — traditionally said to have been the gift of the fourth Duke of Atholl to this Church, then called " Douglass New Chapel " — and the chalice of 1832-3 in the silver service given by Mrs. Ann Bacon to Kirk Santon (Plate xiii.), complete the list of tall chalices on stems, which presents seventeen distinct types or variations.

An instance of the bestowal of a strictly secular cup for sacramental purposes is afforded in the silver goblet, made in 1807-8, at Kirk Braddan (Plate v.). Originally offered by a noted Manxman and member of the House of Keys, John Christian Curwen, who also became a member of Parliament for Carlisle and West Cumberland, as a prize for the best cultivated farm in the Isle of Man, it was given later to this church, presumably by the winner or his descendants.

Equally secular is the small silver mug of 1812-13, with initials, W. W. C., long used as a Communion Cup at Kirk Arbory (Plate xiii.).

Exclusive of the Commonwealth flagon at Kirk German, the number of flagons in the Isle of Man is three. A fine, plain, massive one, with a spout and a domed cover (Plate ix.), a notched rat-tail running down the shoulder of the hollow scrolled handle, made by David King, of Dublin, in 1728-9, and bequeathed to S. Matthew's, Douglas, in 1727 by John and Susanna Murrey. John Murrey will be remembered as the prosperous Manx merchant who issued, in 1668, the first coinage in the Isle of Man — a brass token of the value of a penny, bearing the arms of the island and the motto, QVO CVNQVE GESSERIS STABIT, on the obverse, and his name, the date 1668, and his initials on the reverse. His wife was a cousin of Bishop Wilson's wife, Mary Patten.

A plain flagon belongs to the Communion service (Plate xvi.) of 1777 at S. George's, Douglas, and a massive one of 1824. forms part of the service at Kirk Santon (Plate xiii.).

A fine plain silver tankard with flat cover of the reign of Charles II., with London date letter for 1675-6 (Plate v.), is at Kirk Braddan. This, though a purely domestic vessel, was doubtless given for use as a flagon. The initials of the former owners, who have not so far been identified, are engraved on the handle.

Large tankards like this fine specimen, with flat covers, were in common use in the Restoration period to the end of the seventeenth century and through the reign of Queen Anne. The earlier ones were invariably plain, except for a surbase of embossed acanthus foliage, " cut-card " work, or in rarer cases embellished with figures and other details in the Chinese taste.

There are ten silver patens, excluding the medieval paten at Kirk Malew. The earliest, which, however, is a paten-cover separated from its original chalice, is one of about 1665, given to Kirk German by Bishop Henry Bridgeman, whose arms are engraved on it (Plate iv.).

A small plain paten with a wide flat rim on a short truncated stem (Plate xv.), date about 1685, is at Kirk Christ Lezayre.

One of Queen Anne, made in London in 1705-6, belongs to Kirk Braddan (Plate v.), followed by one of Dublin make, 1708-10, which was given to Kirk Patrick by a friend of Bishop Wilson, Elizabeth Wybrants (Plate x., No. 1). A fifth paten, with London hall-mark for 1722-3, and engraved with a monogram, is at Kirk Lonan — probably given at the dedication of the new church in 1735 (Plate x., No. 2). The Rev. John Christian, Vicar of Kirk Marown, gave to that church in 1759 a plain silver paten on three small feet — the feet added in recent years.

The massive service of Plate at S. George's, Douglas, contains a large paten and two smaller ones of 1776-7 (Plate xvi.).

A highly-decorated paten of 1830-1 is at S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown ; and the one of 1832-3, given by Mrs. Ann Bacon to Kirk Santon, completes the inventory of silver patens.

Domestic plate, as we have seen in the case of the Charles 11. tankard at Kirk Braddan, the splendid two-handled Irish loving cup of S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown, and the small mug at Kirk Arbory, has often been bestowed by pious benefactors to churches for sacramental purposes. No fewer than four silver salvers, in use as alms-dishes or patens, exist in Manx churches to-day. Earliest of these is a fine plain one of 1734-5 (Plate xi.), bestowed in 1809 on S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown. The second, of a different pattern, dated 1741-2 (Plate ix.), was the gift of David and Margaret Murrey to S. Matthew's, Douglas. A third, which is of similar design in the border to the last, but of later date — 1804-5 — is at Kirk Conchan (Plate vi.) ; and the fourth is a small one of 1819-20 (Plate xiii.) at Kirk Maughold.

A piece of domestic plate of some rarity, in use as a paten at S. Paul's, Ramsey, is the silver dish with escallop border, bearing the London date-letter for 1718-19 (Plate vi., No. 2). It was given by Dr. Thomas Wilson, with the Dutch silver beaker, in 1747, and it was then that the sacred monogram — cross and three nails in glory — were engraved in the centre of this dish.

Only two of the orthodox form of silver alms-dishes have been met with: the large plain dish with wide flat rim (Plate ix.) made by Thomas Williamson, of Dublin, about 1740, and given to S. Matthew's, Douglas, by David and Susanna Egwin ; and the massive alms-dish belonging to the service at S. George's, Douglas.

Old silver candlesticks of a strictly ecclesiastical type are of uncommon occurrence in English churches, though Georgian table candlesticks are occasionally found in the possession of churches. A pair of tall ones, dating from 1770-71 (Plate xi.), doubtless part of the family plate, was given in 1831 by Margaret Christian Quilliam to S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown and the companion pair was bequeathed at the same time by the same lady to the chapel of King William's College.

Some forty-five pieces of silver plate in the Isle of Man bear the London hall-mark, the most important examples being the Henry VIII. chalice at Jurby, the Elizabethan beaker and the Commonwealth chalice and flagon at Kirk German, the Charles 1. chalice at Kirk Conchan, and the Charles II. tankard and the chalice with paten-cover of the same period at Kirk Braddan and S. Mary's, Castletown, respectively. The Chester assay is represented by the beaker of 1741-2 of S. Matthew's, Douglas, and by the chalice of 1790-91 in the same church. Ireland's silversmiths have contributed four examples of plate in the beaker and paten of 1708-10 at Kirk Patrick; the magnificent two-handled loving cup with cover of about 1725, probably wrought by Thomas Walker, of Dublin, at S. Mary's Chapel, Castletown; and the large dish of some fifteen years later belonging to S. Matthew's, Douglas — all stamped with the Dublin mark. Though its place of origin cannot for the present be definitely determined, the chalice of 1710 in the latter church was probably wrought at Cork. It will be seen later that the author believes that most of the old pewter in Manx churches came from Ireland. The appearance of Irish plate in the Isle of Man in the beginning and middle of the eighteenth century is not surprising in view of two facts — that most of it dates from the episcopate of Bishop Wilson, who was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and therefore would perhaps be in personal touch with that city; and, moreover, it is well known that at this time most of the island's trade was connected with Ireland.

The only English provincial specimen is the chalice at Kirk Andreas, made at Sheffield in 1820-21.

There are two beakers of foreign silversmiths' work: the fine Dutch beaker of about 1600 at S. Paul's, Ramsey, and the small French beaker of about 1730 at Kirk Marown.

The importance of the highly-interesting silver beaker of Kirk Santon, wrought in the island itself by Thomas Appleby, of Douglas, in 1758, has already been emphasised.

A goodly quantity of old pewter, none, however, earlier in date than the first quarter of the eighteenth century, has survived. No chalice or cup has been found.

There are eight flagons, all displaying some variation in size, outline, in the size of the base, in the cover, or in the addition or omission of a spout. The earliest flagon, dating from about 1710, which is at Kirk Patrick (Plate xviii., No. 2), was given with an alms-dish and two plates in 1714.

A flagon with a crudely-fashioned spout, dating from about 1735, at Kirk Conchan (Plate xix., No. i), is inscribed " Duggless, C.," and has presumably wandered from its original home, S. Matthew's, Douglas, like the two plates, dated 1711, now at Kirk Michael, but formerly the property of Kirk Patrick, and the two pewter patens and alms-dish, now at Kirk Maughold, originally in the chapel of S. Catherine's, Ballure.

The flagon at Kirk Bride is engraved with the sacred monogram, I.H.S., and a Scriptural inscription (Plate xvii., No. 2). Other flagons belong to Kirk Maughold (where there are two), Kirk Michael, Kirk Braddan, and Kirk Lonan, the latter given by Dr. Thomas Wilson in 1735.

The orthodox type of paten on a foot is represented by three specimens: a large one, by Samuel Smith, of London, and the two smaller ones (the gift of Mrs. Margaret Taubman) just mentioned as having belonged to S. Catherine's, Ballure. These three are now at Kirk Maughold.

Ten large dishes or plates exist in different churches, the earliest being dated 1710.10

An alms-basin, with a cover, of unusual form is preserved at Kirk Bride (Plate xvii., No. 2) ; and another similar to it is at Kirk Michael. The former is inscribed, "The poor ye always have with you," which disposes of the suggestion that these bowls were intended for baptismal purposes. Their date would seem to be about the middle of the eighteenth century.

The links in the chain of evidence here collected seem to prove that almost all the pewter throughout the isle is of Irish make, 11 and the author has already indicated two reasons for this supposition. Further, there is Bishop Wilson's letter, mentioned on page 26, ordering from Dublin a quantity of pewter vessels for Kirk Malew Church.

One Sheffield plate is represented by one specimen only — the plain beaker, dated 1789, at Kirk Christ Rushen. Thomas Bolsover is credited with the first discovery, in 1742, of the process of coating copper with silver and fashioning articles of domestic use of this combination of metals, which continued to be utilised until the introduction of electro-plating.

Though strictly outside the province of a work on old sacramental vessels, the curious medieval crucifix and the top of a censer at Kirk Malew, both made of that mixed metal, latten, resembling brass, so extensively used in medieval ecclesiastical vessels and ornaments, have been considered worthy of inclusion here, and are illustrated on Plate xx.

Many of the Manx churches contain collecting dishes of copper with long wooden handles, resembling " warming pans," of the last half of the eighteenth century. The earliest dated examples are two of 1751 at Kirk Malew, the gift of Jane Clucas. Two of 1786, given by W. Clucas, then rector, are at Kirk Bride; two undated ones are in Kirk Braddan Church; two others, dated 1789, belong to Kirk Christ Rushen ; and three others, ten years earlier (1779), are at Kirk Patrick.

These few notes bring to an end the description of the plate of the Isle of Man, and there only now remains to add that the Reformation, the carelessness and ignorance of clergy and wardens, rigid puritanism, and changes in fashion have all combined in causing the loss and destruction of church plate of all kinds in this island as in England and elsewhere.

Whether the ancient vessels of such churches as the Cathedral of German and of the ruined sanctuaries of Patrick and Lonan were of silver, pewter or other material, no evidence can be supplied to determine.

The companion chalice of the historic silver paten at Kirk Malew has disappeared, as has also the paten belonging to the Jurby chalice. Kirk Arbory, rebuilt in 1772, has no older plate than the small domestic mug of early nineteenth century date.

Definite records exist of the loss of vessels from various places. From Kirk German " a very large silver chalice" has disappeared, the gift of Lady Moore, wife of Sir George Moore, Knt., Speaker of the House of Keys from 1763 to 1780. Kirk Bride has lost a silver cup. " A very small silver cup and a pewter flagon" have gone from Kirk Marown. A beaker, described as of silver, and dated 1703, is no longer at Kirk Christ Rushen.

Several pewter vessels have been lost from Kirk Malew — namely : a "flagon, a large dish, and two or three plates of the best pewter," inscribed with the name of Mrs. Catherine Halshall. One of these plates or dishes is in private hands at present. Two pewter patens have disappeared from Kirk Conchan, a flagon from Kirk Christ Lezayre, and an alms-basin from Kirk Patrick.



1 P. M. C. Kermode's Manx Crosses.

2 Patens are not specified in this list, and were presumably included with the four chalices — a point which recalls the preservation to our own time of no fewer than thirty-four medieval silver patens in the county of Norfolk alone out of the total number of about ninety-five throughout England and Wales. This remarkably large proportion in one county is thought to be due to the omission of the word " paten " from the injunction that " those monuments of superstition " — chalices — should be destroyed, or turned into "decent Communion cups,"

3 A vessel, in the form of a ship, for incense. The Earl of Carysfort owns one of parcel-gilt, temp. Henry VIL, which once belonged to Ramsey Abbey.

4 Reliquaries in the form of a head and a hand. In the British Museum is the head of S. Eustace, of wood overlaid with silver, of the eleventh century, from Basle Cathedral. Many of the treasuries of English cathedrals contained reliquaries of this kind. S. Thomas's, covered with precious metal and jewels, called the "Golden Head," was at Canterbury. The shrine of S. Lachtin's arm, of bronze and silver, dating from about iiio, is in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. Several such reliquaries are preserved in the treasuries of churches and monasteries in Italy, France, and Spain.

5 It is impossible to say whether these cruets, for wine and water, were composed wholly of silver or partially of glass and silver. A pre-Reformation English silver cruet — the only English specimen known — dating from 1530-35, is a highly-prized treasure at S. Peter Port Church, Guernsey.

6 The mazer was the commonest of all medieval drinking vessels in England from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. The bowl was generally of maple wood, and was often elaborately mounted in silver, and occasionally of gold, some of the border mounts being engraved with interesting inscriptions. Though so common then, the number recorded as in existence to-day does not exceed fifty.

7 The subject is exhaustively dealt with by Mr. A. W. Moore in Manx Place Names, 2nd edition, p. 140.

8 Illustrated and described in Archaeologia, vol. liii.

9 The first Chapel was pulled down in 1826, when the present building was erected.

10 Since the compilation of this list, Mr. P. M. C. Bennode has kindly brought to the writer's notice an old pewter plate at Kirk Marown, of which, however, no particulars can be obtained.

11 Some of the marks resemble those used by Dublin pewterers. Dublin and Cork were the chief centres in Ireland where pewter was wrought.


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002