Communion cup | Mothell Chalice | Metal,silver | 17th century AD | The Hunt Collection | PD

The plainness of this silver communion cup is typical of the Church of Ireland plate of its period and a direct result of the Reformation when, in England and subsequently in Ireland, ornate chalices were converted into ‘fair and comely cups’. The tradition of more ornate chalices continued in the Roman Catholic Church. This example has a large beaker-style bowl with an everted rim that would have facilitated the distribution of wine to the congregation. The conical stem has a flattened hemispherical knot above a spreading and moulded circular foot. 

Most Church of Ireland plates of this period were inscribed with the name of the donor. Here it reads: ‘The Gift of the Right Honourable Anne Countess of Tyrone to the Church of Mothell 1697’. Anne’s father was Andrew Rickard’s of Danganspidogue, County Kilkenny. In 1693 she married James Power, third earl of Tyrone, and their only child and heiress, Catherine e, married Sir Marcus Beresford, who became successively Viscount and Earl of Tyrone. Their eldest son became the first Marquis of Waterford. The markers mark ‘SW’ for Samuel Wilder, a Dublin silversmith, the harp crowned and the date letter ‘L’ for 1696-8 are shown clearly on the cup. This is one of three known pieces made in the seventeenth century by Samuel Wilder.