Lacock Cup

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Lacock Cup
Lacock Cup as displayed in the British Museum
Material Silver
Size 33cm high
Created Mid-Fifteenth Century
Present location British Museum, London

The Lacock Cup is a medieval silver chalice, originally housed in St Cyriac's Church in Lacock, Wiltshire, England


The cup dates from the mid-15th century, and has been described as "one of the most significant pieces of secular English medieval silver".[1] Most such feasting cups have been destroyed, or were altered due to changing fashion. However, the Lacock Cup was donated to the church soon after creation, and so it has survived in its original condition.[1] The cup's function changed after the English Reformation, as new religious practices meant that a larger communion cup was required to hold sufficient wine for the whole congregation, in a time when strict laws prohibited the use of religious images.[2] Since 1962, it has been on display at the British Museum.[2]


In 2009, with mounting expenditure on maintaining and restoring the church's structure, the Lacock Parochial Church Council (LPCC) had the cup valued, with experts estimating the value at £1.8M.[3] The LPCC then applied for a faculty (licence) to sell the Cup, with the British Museum interested in changing the loan into a purchase agreement.[3] Local resident Geoffrey Fox legally challenged the sale, but at a Consistory court in December 2013, the Reverend Justin Gau said he was satisfied the sale circumstances were justified.[2]

Joint purchase[edit]

External video
The Lacock Cup at the British Museum, TheArtFundUK

On 24 December 2013, sale was completed to a joint bid from the British Museum and the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, for a sum of £1.3m, raised through private donation as well as grant funds from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund.[1] As part of the sale agreement, two replicas will be made: one for liturgical use at the church;[4] one to go on display at the Wiltshire Museum, when the original is not on display.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Wiltshire church sells silver medieval chalice for £1.3m". BBC News. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "British Museum to acquire £1.3m Lacock cup from church". BBC News. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Cash-strapped church's £1.8m cup". BBC News. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Press Statement: Sale of the Lacock Cup". Corham & Lacock Churches. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.