Chancellor rules on Lacock cup


    Category
    Around the Diocese
    Date
    5 December 2012
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    The Chancellor of the Diocese of Bristol, Revd Justin Gau, has ruled at a Consistory Court held at St Cyriac’s Church, Lacock that the parish can sell a piece of silverware known as the ‘Lacock Cup’ to the British Museum.

    The cup, which is believed to date from the 15th century and to have been given to St Cyriac’s in the mid 1600’s, has been on permanent loan to the Museum for the last 40 years and is described as ‘an extremely rare’ example of medieval silverware.

    The parish applied for a faculty to sell the cup to the Museum on the grounds that its value and significance made it impossible that it could ever be securely returned to the church.

    Following a formal objection by a local resident, which could not be resolved by correspondence, the Chancellor - in his role as the senior ecclesiastical lawyer in the diocese - agreed to hear evidence from both parties in a court hearing.

    Giving his judgement on Tuesday 4th December, the Chancellor agreed that the cost and difficulty of obtaining appropriate insurance made it impossible to return the cup to the church and that, even if such insurance could be arranged, this would not be a good use of the PCC’s resources. He judged that funds would be better used for the maintenance of the church as a hub for mission.

    Commenting on the outcome of the hearing, the Archdeacon of Malmesbury, the Ven. Christine Froude, said:

    "Although I am aware this case has generated strong feelings on both sides, I do think the very thoughtful and sensible judgement the Chancellor has given is the right one. It not only ensures the security and visibility of the cup to future generations but also, more importantly, allows the parish to focus its energy and resources on mission and outreach, safe in the knowledge that essential repairs to the building can be covered.”

    The parish must now proceed to complete the sale to the Musuem and establish the charitable trust to manage the funds. For its part, the Museum must raise the £1.3million it has offered to pay. The Chancellor has also directed that a replica of the cup (costing no more than £5,000) be created for liturgical use in the church.