DESTRUCTION OF PLATE

Changes came thick and fast, and the Reformed church gloried in the protection afforded by the young King Edward VI, but during his reign there was wholesale destruction of ancient plate. Some of the vessels were deemed unsuitable for the newer method of worship, and much perished in order to find funds for the much needed repairs and restoration of church property, and the greater part of the residue was claimed by the Crown under varied pretences. Chalices and dishes once used in the celebration of the mass were deemed unfit for the Protestant communion, and so many were destroyed. When Mary came to the throne there was a return to the Mass and another flutter among the custodians of church plate, resulting in further losses and depletion. Again, when Elizabeth reigned Protestant communion cups were fashioned out of existing silver. The vessels surviving from the time of the last great change of the religion of the State are few, although here and there in old parish churches there are still in use ancient vessels hall-marked in the days of Edward VI. It is impossible to pass over without mention, however brief, the vandalism of the premeditated destruction of holy things and of church buildings venerated by age and tradition. A conspicuous example is found in the Cathedral of Rheims. At one time much valuable plate adorned its altar and some choice pieces specially made for the Cathedral have at times been removed to other places, one fine example being a chalice of gold and enamel, in recent years to be seen in Paris-in later times it has been plundered, the sacred edifice is to-day a ruin, and its glories gone, but not forgotten, and they may be revived.