It is three hundred years ago this year since St Andrew’s Church, Penrith was rebuilt in what was then the fashionable Neoclassical style, which had become widespread in England. Only the tower of the much older church was kept intact.
Now, by arrangement with the Diocese of Carlisle visitors to the Museum can see a collection of silver and pewter communion plate formerly in use at the Church over those three centuries.
In 1672, the Vicar noted that the Parish's communion plate and linen had all vanished. Allan Mawson was Churchwarden that year. It took six years to get up a public subscription to replace it. In 1745 during the Jacobite uprising, when the rebels marched through the town heading for London, the Parish’s plate - all the above items - was hidden locally and brought out again in the following year.
There are two chalices inscribed Penrith 1678 both made in London, in the reign of Charles II, in a style which had been popular four decades earlier, similar examples at St. Mary’s, Carlisle being dated 1636.
A silver ‘comport’ made in London in 1706, in the reign of Queen Anne, is inscribed ‘A gift from Mary Pattinson, Widow, Parish Church, Pereth 1707’. It served as a large paten.
The small travelling communion set (a silver chalice with cover), was made in London in 1740, in the reign of George II, and inscribed 'Gift of Captain E Master'. Edward Master’s family had property in Kent, the Midlands, and Lancashire.
There is a silver tankard which was made in London in 1785 in the reign of George III has the maker’s mark TG - and is probably the work of Thomas Graham.
The Victorian silver communion cup with cover made in London in 1885 is of a type common in the late 15th century in all essentials except that the feet of the early examples had sides incurved at the base and the ‘knop’ around the middle of the stem was often enamelled.
A pair of pewter flagons made in the reign of Queen Anne bear the date 1712 - the same year as the Parish ordered its first clock. They were filled with port and used at the infrequent Communions when a full gulp was taken by each communicant.