THE STANDING SALT

The great standing salt, that is, the receptacle in which the chief supply of salt was served became a piece of plate upon which much ornamentation could be placed. Many of these covered vessels-covered probably to preserve the freshness of the salt-were used as the chief table decoration upon the long refectory tables of the monastries and the boards of the dining halls of the colleges in University towns. Some of these delightful pieces of old plate are still preserved among the remains of ancient plate now so jealously guarded in the colleges and by trade guilds. It would appear that gifts of these splendid relics of the handiwork and allegorical and emblematical design of the silversmiths of old were frequently bestowed by bishops and others on their former alma mater, and left by will to favourite institutions. In Corpus Christi College, Oxford, there is an immense salt cellar or standing salt of silver-gilt formerly belonging to Bishop Fox. This ancient salt hall-marked 1517, is ornamented with a pelican, the bishop's emblem. This college is rich in antique plate and possesses several standing salts.