The Wickham Silver
Joyce Johnston, former verger and sacristan writes: ‘In August 2009, Neale Fray and I were privileged to handle the Wickham Silver, 35 years after the PCC was given permission for it to be auctioned to raise funds to build a meeting room next to the church..
The Silver had originally been sold to an American gentleman but, having encountered difficulties with the authorities in getting permission for it to leave the country, he sold it, no doubt at a profit, to Hampshire County Council, who bought it with the aid of a 50% grant from the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is now on permanent display in the Westbury Museum in Fareham.
Exquisitely designed, the Wickham Silver is hallmarked London 1646 and 1647. Although the silversmith’s initials ‘WT’ are clear, further information about the maker cannot be found: all records of contemporary silversmiths were lost in the Great Fire of London.
I believe the Silver was in use in our church up until the 1940s. It is remarkable that when Hampshire was the scene of bitter fighting and devastation at Basing House and Cheriton between the Royalists and the Roundheads and the plate at Winchester and Chichester had been requisitioned, the congregation at Wickham had sufficient faith to commission, at no small expense, such beautiful examples of the silversmith’s art.’