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Coombe Keynes Chalice

You may be aware that the original 'Coombe Keynes Chalice' which was made in about 1500 (pre Reformation) and in all probability the chalice from Bindon Abbey, hidden in Coombe Keynes at the time the Abbey was dissolved, has been returned to Dorset.

The chalice was loaned to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1930 and a replica was provided to our parish at that time. The replica is of course used at all our communion services and will continue to be so used. The chalice remains the property of our church and is on loan to the Dorset Museum.

Coombe Keynes Church

Our parish of Wool and East Stoke includes the small village of Coombe Keynes, which originally featured the Church of the Holy Rood, the main church of the area. The Church of the Holy Rood in Wool started life as a daughter chapel of the main church at Coombe Keynes. However, some say due to plague, the thriving agricultural village of Coombe Keynes became a small hamlet and the small village of Wool survived and grew, especially after the railway station was built and the Army Camp at Bovington was developed. Coombe Keynes church eventually fell into disrepair, was deconsecrated, and was bought by the Coombe Keynes villagers in 1975. They now use the building as their community centre.

Coombe Keynes Chalice

The Coombe Keynes Chalice, which belongs to the PCC of Wool and East Stoke, is an object of huge national importance. Currently it is on loan to the Dorchester County Museum, who have told us it is on public display.

In Holy Rood Church, Wool, we sometimes use in our Communion Services a replica of this precious 15th century chalice. The replica (in silver plate) was made in modern times.

The following information is adapted from the description on the Victoria and Albert Museum website:

Dated around A.D. 1500 by an unknown artist, the chalice is made of silver; with parcel-gilt1. It was used during the Mass to serve the consecrated wine. The form and ornament of chalices usually reflects current artistic styles and religious practice. This one shows some of the decorative motifs that were common before the Reformation. Its form, with a pierced knop (the bulbous swelling on the stem) and hexagonal foot with embellished angles, is typical of chalices made in England during the late 15th century. The foot is engraved with a crucifix amid decorative foliage.

Ref: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O104962/the-coombe-keynes-chalice-chalice-unknown/

1 ‘Parcel-gilt’ - that is to say, it is partially gold-plated


The original Coombe Keynes Chalice

Image copyright (c) The Victoria and Albert Museum


Extract from "The Heart of Wessex" by Sidney Heath (written in 1910)

“Coombe Keynes is situated a mile or so to the south of Wool, its chief claim to notice being the singularly beautiful pre-Reformation chalice preserved within the church, a building that was extensively restored in 1860. The chalice is one of three pieces of pre-Reformation church plate that now remain in the county, although out of some three hundred parishes over one hundred have retained their Elizabethan chalices, while seventy possess Communion plate of the seventeenth century.

The Coombe Keynes chalice is in excellent condition, and is surpassed in beauty only by the very similar but slightly earlier example at Wylye, in Wiltshire. Its height is 63/8 inches; diameter of bowl, 4 inches; depth, 2 inches; narrowest part of base, 33/8 inches; widest part, 5¼ inches. The bowl is broad and conical; the slender stem hexagonal and quite plain, with ogee moulded bands at the junctions. The knob is full sized, having six lobes spirally twisted with traceried openings, terminating in angels' heads, crowned. The date is about 1500, if not somewhat earlier. The two other examples of pre-Reformation plate in Dorset are a paten at Buckhorn Weston, and a chalice at Sturminster Marshall.”  [Ref: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/46839/46839-h/46839-h.htm ]








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Last modified: Friday, 10 June 2022