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Westcountry Silver

In 1558, the Act of Supremacy made Elizabeth I Supreme Governor of the church. In 1559, the Act of Uniformity attempted to reconcile Protestants and Catholics and return England to the Protestant faith. In further acts passed by Elizabeth, everyone had to attend church on Sunday, each parish had to have a complete copy of the Bible in English and each parish had to have a communion cup.

A pair of late 17th/early 18th century tazze possibly by John Dagge. Estimate: £1,000-£2,000.

A pair of late 17th/early 18th century tazze possibly by John Dagge. Estimate: £1,000-£2,000.

This led to a large number of communion cups being produced over the following twenty years. Of which two are to be included in our Fine Art Sale on the 11th July 2012 together with a collection of church silver. Our two examples are by the same maker John Jones.

Jones was one of the most successful provincial goldsmiths. He was made a free man at Exeter on the 9th September 1555, and two years later married Joan Yeedes at St Petrocks in 1557. Ten years later he was made Bailiff and later became Churchwarden of St Petrocks in 1570. Jones was buried at St Petrocks on 10th January 1583. His best known apprentices were Johns Edes, Christopher Easton and William Bentley, all noted spoon makers.

Our first communion cup has gilded decoration and is the more decorative of the two, the cover which doubles as a paten is decorated with a Tudor rose, its decoration is typical of its time. The ironic touch is that the cup was made for another church but ended up at St Petrocks some three hundred years after Jone's burial, the base having been inscribed "Entrusted to the Church Wardens of St Petrock by The parish of St Kerrian, May,1884".

An Elizabeth I Exeter communion cup and paten with gilded decoration. Estimate: £3,000-£5,000.

An Elizabeth I Exeter communion cup and paten with gilded decoration. Estimate: £3,000-£5,000.

The second cup is similar in style, but plainer with no gilded decoration, and again with Tudor rose decoration to the paten.

An Elizabeth I Exeter communion cup and paten later inscribed 'St Pauls, Exon 1758'. Estimate: £3,000-£5,000.

An Elizabeth I Exeter communion cup and paten later inscribed 'St Pauls, Exon 1758". Estimate: £3,000-£5,000.

Our final pieces of West Country silver is a bit more speculative. They are a pair of tazze and used as patens at the communion service. They are struck three times with the initials ID, but with no other marks, no lion passant or assay office marks. Similar marks have been found on spoons and other church plate and we think it is possible that the maker was John Dagge of Great Torrington.

John Dagge was born circa 1660 and was in business in Torrington by 1687. He supplied church plate for the parishes of Merton and West Putford. He was Mayor of the town six times and buried in Great Torrington on the 17th May 1740, during his sixth term in office.

Tags

  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Fine Sale
  • Silver Auction
  • Elizabethan Silver
  • John Dagge, Silversmith
  • John Jones, Goldsmith
  • Johns Edes, Goldsmith
  • Christopher Easton, Goldsmith
  • William Bentley, Goldsmith

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