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Communion service including a pair of cups and patens, a pair of flagons and an alms dish

Silver

Origin: London

Date: 1667-1699

Marks/Maker: Cups and patens: London, sterling standard, 1667-8, maker's mark WG, crescent below in a heart. Flagons: London, Britannia standard, 1698-9, maker's mark of Timothy Ley. Alms dish: London, sterling standard, 1674-5, maker's mark OS, trefoil below

Deposited on loan by the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, 1954; LI 1044.1; LI 1044.2; LI 1044.3; LI 1044.4; LI 1044.5; LI 1044.6; LI 1044.7

T. Schroder (2009), no. 314

Alms dishes and flagons had become increasingly common in parish churches in the early seventeenth-century. The dishes reflected the new Protestant emphasis on charity, while the flagons were a practical response to the restoration of the communion cup, which had led to a larger consumption of consecrated wine and therefore a need for special vessels to contain it. The church of St Mary the Virgin is both the parish church of Oxford and the University Church. Until the Sheldonian Theatre was built in the 1660s, it was also the place where University ceremonies were held and where the University Library was originally housed. The inscription on the flagons records the bequest of a local apothecary and translates, 'This flagon and another like it were given by John Cross as instruments of the parish of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Oxford but also for the use of the University.'

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)

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