Church plate


Church plate is a collective term for church objects made of precious and semi-precious metals. For convenience we have included the glassware used.


The cruet and flagon

Cruet

The flagon

Cruet

The cruet

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A cruet is a small flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck used during the celebration of Holy Communion. Cruets often have an integral lip or spout and may also have a handle has a stopper or lid to protect the contents from from flies and dust. Cruets are normally made from glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. They come in pairs, one containing water and the other containing altar wine. The cruet containing water is marked 'A' for the Latin word for water, Aqua, and the one containing the wine, 'V' for Vinum.

The altar wine, a special wine made only for Holy Communion containing a much lower alcohol percentage than other wines, is mixed with water in the chalice during Holy Communion in commemoration of the Last Supper.

A flagon is a large vessel, usually made of glass and metal, that contains the wine to be consecrated. If more than one chalice is used during the administration of Communion, the flagon (or an additional cruet filled with wine and water) is placed on the altar at the offertory, and other chalices are brought to the altar after the breaking of the bread.


Chalices and patens

Chalices, often made of precious metal and sometimes richly jewelled, have been used since ancient times. The chalice, from Latin calix, meaning cup, is a drinking cup or goblet with a bowl, a single stem and a foot. The chalice holds the sacramental wine during Holy Communion and everyone drinks from it, the server wiping the cup with a napkin and rotating it for each communicant. This is called 'taking communion from a common cup'. The ornate silver-gilt Baroque chalice with garnets is now only used on special occasions at St James's. Underneath are scratched the initials 'H.I.K. 1818'.

Patens, or diskos, are small plates, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharistic bread which is to be consecrated. The word paten comes from a Latin form patina or patena denoting a flat open vessel of the nature of a plate or dish.

chalice
chalice

chalice

chalice
The ciborium and pyx

A ciborium is a covered container used to store the wafers or bread for Holy Communion. It is like a chalice in shape but its bowl and has a
lid with a cross. The ciborium is usually made of gold or silver and the interior of the cup is always lined with gold. The wafers, Communion Hosts, are round flat wafers made from unleavened bread. They are consecrated during the service and given to the congregation during the celebration of Holy Communion.

The other vessel used to hold the communion wafers is called a pyx and is a small silver plated box which serves for storing and carrying the wafers to the sick. It is inscribed 'To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Sergt. Thomas J. Henstridge, R.E., aged 26 who died 14 November 1939 after a road accident whilst on duty. 'Faithful unto death'. Hallmark 'A.P. M&Co. E.''

Ciborium

The ciborium
The pyx with hosts

The pyx
The pyx with hosts
The ciborium

The ciborium with the lid


The santuary lamp and aumbry

In the sanctuary is a niche, which is a cut out place in the north wall. Next to this is an aumbry which is a locked cabinet or safe in the wall to hold the consecrated (made sacred) bread and wine that is not used during the normal communion. This can then be taken to the ill or housebound who have asked for communion to be given to them at home. A wax sanctuary lamp stands in the niche next to the aumbry as a sign that this sacrament is stored here. The lamp is always burning to remind us that Christ is always present.

Aumbry

The aumbry
Niche

The niche
The santuary lamp

The sanctuary lamp
Church crosses and candlesticks

High altar cross

The high altar
cross

The processional cross

The processional
cross

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Church crosses
The cross is one of the most ancient symbols and the word cross comes from Latin crux, a Roman torture device used for crucifixion. The cross reminds Christians of God's act of love in Christ's sacrifice at Calvary and also of Jesus' victory over sin and death.

St James's brass altar cross is inscribed 'Sacred to the memory of Henry Bendy 1936'. St James's processional cross is an oak staff with a polished brass cross with the inscription: 'Dedicated to the memory of Annie Greene Headmistress of the Hampton Hill Church of England Girls' School for 25 years, from her Old Girls and Friends'.

Candlesticks
The pair of brass altar candlesticks are inscribed
'Sacred to the memory of Howard Fletcher 1939'. An altar candlestick consists of five parts: the foot, the stem, the knob around the middle of the stem, the bowl to catch the wax drippings, and the sharp point or tube to hold the candle.

Candlestick

Altar
candlestick
Candlesticks

Standing
candlestick
Candlesticks

High Altar
candlestick

Alms dishes

The alms dish is a larg brass circular collection plate with a copper central insert. It is inscribed 'All things come of thee and of thine own have we given'. A collection plate is a shallow circular container for collection for the church and for charity.

collection plate
Alms Dish
collection plate


Staff, rods or wands of office and the book stand
Churchwardens' staff

Churchwardens' staff

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The Book stand


Staff, rods or wands of office
A staff of office can symbolise a position, rank or prestige. The churchwardens carry them in special services.

The book stand
The brass book stand lives on the high altar, or the table next to it, to hold the bible for certain services. It has a centre incription of 'IHS'. 'IHS' or 'IHC' are the first three letters of the Greek for Jesus (IHCOYC).