The Wickham Silver
On the 26th August 2009, Neale Fray and I were privileged to handle the “Wickham Silver”, 35 years after St Nicholas Church sold it to raise funds to build the Church Room.
It had originally been sold to an American gentleman but encountering difficulties with the authorities in allowing 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.
For many years it has been on display in a gallery in Alton, but has now been removed to the Museum and Archive Service in Winchester, prior to future exhibition around the region. It may one day be in the Westbury Museum in Fareham for people to see.
It is very beautiful and nearly 400 years old, hallmarked London 1646 and 1647. The silversmiths initials WT are clear but all records of silversmiths were lost in the Great Fire of London.
I believe pieces were in use in our church up until the 1940’s. 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.