Collection Spotlight: Flagon and Communion Plate

In July 1720, Robert Carter sent London merchant William Dawkins two hogsheads of tobacco levied by the vestry of Christ Church Parish to purchase communion silver. Acting as churchwarden, Carter directed that the “Church plate” cost £20 or “thereabouts” and include a flagon and communion plate engraved with “Christ Church Parish Lancas[te]r County & ye Date of the Year.” Carter authorized Dawkins to charge his account for any costs not covered by the revenue from the two hogsheads, which Carter noted had sailed aboard his ship The Carter and were marked “CCP.”

Today this flagon and communion plate, along with a paten and chalice, shine proudly in the museum in the Carter Reception Center. Housed in a beautiful, vertical case located on access with the museum entrance, the silver is a favorite stopping point for visitors.

That the silver survived is yet another remarkable chapter in Christ Church’s history. Captain William Tell Chase and his family used a wooden box (also on display in the museum) to guard the silver in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At some point the silver made its way to a local bank vault, where it remained until 1988 when it was first displayed in the museum.

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