Two new Treasures for our Company Church
During the St Michael’s Day Service this year, Father Philip announced that two treasures, an Alms Basin and a Paten from St Michael’s, Crooked Lane, had been returned to St Magnus-the-Martyr Church and they were on display for us to see after the service.
As many of you will know, our original Company Church, St Michael’s, Crooked Lane, was demolished in 1831 to make way for the rebuilding of London Bridge, and the parish was absorbed into that of St Magnus-the-Martyr, our present Company Church.
St Michael is the Company’s Patron Saint, and St Magnus-the-Martyr Church celebrates St Michael’s Day with a Service as close as possible to 29th September. It’s why our Livery Year runs from 1st October to 30th September, and also why we hold the Installation of our Master close to that date.
THE ALMS BASIN
This dish, decorated with the figure of St Michael and four helmeted classical heads, bears London hallmarks; the date letter for 1524; the maker’s mark of a cross on an orb; and a later inscription on the back:
This is Saynt Miheils bassoon for the ewse of the pore, 1564 (This is Saint Michael’s basin for the use of the poor)
It is possible that it was used in a domestic context, perhaps in a private chapel, and that the heads and inscription were added shortly before the dish was given to St Michael, Crooked Lane, for parish use.
Parishioners gave money to help the poor and sick, and for special projects such as ‘mending the lock for the churchyard door’, ‘lopping the tree in the churchyard for caterpillars’ or for a new clock for the church tower. Money was also given to maintain a constant supply of lamps and lights in the church.
Patens with either a single or double central depression are used for the holding of bread during the Eucharist, and sometimes as a cover for the Chalice.
This partly gilded paten from St Michael, Crooked Lane is unmarked, but probably dates from around 1500. It has six-lobed spandrels engraved with leaves, and the central depression has an engraving of Christ seated on a rainbow at the Last Judgment.
The ‘Christ of Doom’ image seems to have been a popular subject, and examples are listed in many church inventories compiled during the Dissolution, although only two have survived.
Immediate Past Master