Chapter 18. TANKARDS AND CUPS

Table of Contents

THE TANKARD
SILVER-MOUNTED STONEWARE JUGS
STANDING CUPS
IN THE CITY HALLS
LESSER CUPS
CUPS OF MANY KINDS

The tankard-Silver-mounted stoneware jugs-Standing cups-Loving cups-The grace cup-Beakers and tumblers-Caudle cups and porringers-Cocoa-nut and ostrich egg cups-Cups of many kinds.

THERE is something very interesting about the old tankards and cups which have been used in the past under very different surroundings and conditions to those which owners and collectors of plate are accustomed to in the twentieth century. These two types of vessels are rightly connected together, for the one is, and was to a large extent, intended to supply and fill the other. Both are, however, very varied in size and form, the vessels often suggesting the changes in society as time went on, and the different conditions under which the persons who used them lived, compared with the present day. The great leathern black-jacks of Cromwellian days, and the pewter flagons of the time of Charles II and of many years later, once full of foaming ale and home brewed wines, drank in manor house and baronial hall, and quaffed at roadside inn and tavern, remind us of the lives our ancestors lived, and tell somewhat of former conditions of travel. Such vessels were welcome sights in coaching inn and were emblematic of the refreshment offered in such places. The term tankard is used in a general sense to denote several varieties of large vessels from which quantities of liquor was once poured into smaller and more convenient receptacles for personal use ; the tankard was, however, very frequently emptied without the medium of a cup. On the other hand, cups have usually been known chiefly by their more specific uses, the generic term cup being prefixed by some name by which its actual use could be recognised, as the " loving cup " at the feast, and the " candle cup " in the home ; and in these days the terms are useful to the collector in distinguishing the varieties of cups and vessels he possesses, many of them having been used for different purposes in the past. Some of the names have, however, been handed on, although the original uses of the cups can scarcely be identified ; on the other hand the names in some cases still serve to denote a present day use which has scarcely changed at all during the lapse of centuries.