Not many people know that in the 1970s, at the time when Caldecote church was declared redundant, the church silver was passed to the diocesan authorities and was put on display in St Albans Cathedral Treasury.The collection consists of just three items: a small simple chalice dated 1569, a small paten dated 1638 and an ornate wine flagon dated 1870.
In 2010 Caldecote Church Friends applied to the Cathedral Administrator to borrow the items for display inside the church at the Heritage Open Day, after which the church silver was safely returned to St Albans (see picture left).
So, what is in our modest collection? There is a paten, a small shallow silver plate, used to hold the bread during the Eucharist; it would also sometimes serve as a cover for the chalice.This is perfectly illustrated on the picture (left), where the paten is upturned and clearly displays a depression (“groove”) that allows it to sit securely on top of the chalice. More importantly, ?maker’s London mark, an inverted letter Band a date 1638-39 have also been stamped on the underside. Next, there is a chalice or goblet, a footed cup intended to hold wine to be drunk during the Eucharist (Holy Communion).The chalice is considered to be one of the most sacred vessels in Christian religious worship, and would have often been consecrated by a bishop by anointing it with holy oil. Look closely: again ?maker’s London mark, M and a date of 1569-70 are stamped under the rim.
And finally, there is a flagon (not pictured), intended to hold the wine for the Communion. How wonderful it would be if these three valuable objects from past worship returned for viewing and safe-keeping closer to home, say the new Museum in Hitchin?Perhaps a dream, but dreams sometimes come true ... Grazyna