DISCOVERIES OF RARE PLATE

Some of the clergy are truly simple minded, and place great faith in the integrity of the masses. In many country parishes there are rare stores of plate unprotected, in not a few church vestry cupboards, unlocked, are to be found valuable and in some instances priceless gems of the silversmiths' art. The sanctity of the altar even when aided by superstitious dread of sacrilege, would not deter some wandering visitors from pilfering. It is common

Fig. 33.-THE DOLGELLY CHALICE. (In the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.)

FIG. 34.-BASE OF THE DOLGELLY CHALICE. (See previous page.)

Fig:. 35.-THE DOLGELLY PATEN. (In the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.)

knowledge that poor boxes have been robbed again and again, many times by the same individual-the rare treasure of plate entrusted to vicar and churchwardens are a trust to be well safeguarded for the benefit of future generations. It is almost impossible to understand how it is that rare ecclesiastical plate has been hidden away, and even when found its date or period made of no account. Yet there are many such instances. A few years ago the daily press announced the discovery of a chalice and paten, dated 1569, in a chest in Baldock Church ; these vessels had a royal historic interest, for they were used by Charles I when a prisoner at Baldock (Herts). No doubt they are jealously guarded now. Would that all such relics were kept and treasured as they should be