£1.3 million treasure at Norwich Castle

Medieval treasure: The £1.3 million Lacock Cup has been lent to Norwich Castle Museum by the British

Medieval treasure: The £1.3 million Lacock Cup has been lent to Norwich Castle Museum by the British Museum. The castle is one of only a handful of museums across the country which are hosting the prestigious 15th-century treasure. - Credit: Archant

A £1.3 million treasure from the Middle Ages is being put on display in Norwich Castle Museum until January in a special loan from the British Museum.

A £1.3 million treasure from the Middle Ages is being put on show in Norwich Castle Museum.

The 15th-century Lacock Cup, which is being loaned by the British Museum, is one of the most important pieces of secular English medieval silver which has survived to the present day.

Curator of archaeology Dr Tim Pestell said only a handful of venues around the country were hosting the stunning silver and partly-gilded drinking cup, which was once used in medieval feasts before taking on a new life as a chalice for communion wine.

The cup, 35cm high and shaped from almost one kilogram of silver, was used by the congregation of St Cyriac's Church in Lacock, Wiltshire, for more than 400 years before being loaned to the BM and then bought for the nation in 2013, with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and private donations, after a major fundraising appeal. The church had put the treasure up for sale to pay for repairs to its Grade I-listed building.


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Dr Pestell said: 'This is one of the very few pieces of secular silver of its type that survives from the Middle Ages.' The superbly-crafted cup is elegantly decorated, edged with gothic motifs and twisted and gilded ropework.

'We are delighted and privileged to be asked by the British Museum to take this stunning treasure on loan,' Dr Pestell said. 'Its display at Norwich Castle is a reminder of the sort of rich tableware and plate that would have been visible in many noble houses in a wealthy region like Norfolk, nearly all of which have now been destroyed.

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The Lacock Cup will be displayed until January, alongside two cups from the castle's own collection. The treasure will then move to Nottingham on the next stage of its national 'spotlight tour'.

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