Communion Plates & Churchwarden’s Wands

Communion Plates

The Church has several sets of Communion Plate.  The oldest, comprising two cups for the wine (chalices), a flagon and a plate for the bread (paten), was given by Rev. Henry Heap in December 1826 when the church was built[i].

Two Chalices and one Patten in silver, presented to the Church by Mrs. Martha Barwick, in memory of the Rev. William Kelly[ii].

Four silver Chalices and electro-plated Paten, which were paid for by subscription and presented to the Church at Christmas, 1885[iii]. In 1971 the silver chalices, which had become unserviceable, were melted down and the metal used to make two new chalices, a ciborium (container for bread/wafers) and two small patens in memory of Elizabeth Stansfield[iv].

Constable’s Staves and Churchwarden’s Wands

There were two constable’s staves preserved in the Church. One had the date 1798, but this was stolen about 30 years ago and never recovered. The other staff has the words “Constable of Shipley” on one side and the date, 1822, on the other and this pre-dates the church. The office of parish constable is an old one; Edward I required two constables in every hundred. These were usually elected locally and were unpaid. Various sources mention the constable of Shipley. The role was effectively abolished with the setting up of regular police forces in 1856.

The two Church Wardens are people appointed by the Bishop to be his officers in the church. The job goes back as far as the 13th century. In former times one warden was chosen by the vicar (Vicar’s Warden) and the other elected by the parishioners (People’s Warden). Today, they are both chosen by the electors in the parish – anyone who lives in the parish, and can vote, may come and vote for a warden. They are responsible for maintaining order within the church and its grounds. As a sign of their office each wardens carries a staff or ‘wand’.  These are poles with a carved or metal head, traditionally in the shape of a mitre (Vicar’s warden) or crown (People’s warden). Their use is mainly ceremonial; when the bishop visits, the wardens process before with their wands (originally to protect the bishop).

A pair of wands was given by some members of the congregation in 1892[v]. The present two wardens’ wands were given in 1950, by the wardens of that time (C F Cockshott and F L Pitts)[vi].

[i]      Parish Illustrated Handbook 1926, p.24

[ii]     Ibid

[iii]    Parish Illustrated Handbook 1926, p.24.

[iv]    St Paul’s, A Brief History, 1976, p, 6.

[v]     St Paul’s, A Brief History,1976, p, 4

[vi]    Ibid, p. 5

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