Silverware at Holy Trinity

The church has received many beautiful pieces of silverware in earlier centuries for use in distributing holy communion (bread and wine).

Traditionally the bread, in the form of thin wafers, is on a small plate or ‘paten’ and the wine in a cup called a chalice – usually in the shape of a large wine cup on a stem.  The wine has water added to it during the service, and so a vessel is needed for the water.  Nowadays this is often of cut glass, but silver flagons could also be used.

In 1984 two particularly fine examples were given on permanent loan to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for safe-keeping.  This meant they could be seen by people whereas in the church they would need to be locked away out of sight.

Flagon given by Walter


A silver flagon and two patens for use in Holy Communion were given to the church by Henry Walter in 1694.  Henry was a native of Sutton Coldfield and three times High Steward of the County of Clare.  The image shows the flagon only in the museum.  A further image is of the accompanying label in the museum

Cup and paten given by Burges


A silver chalice and cover were given to the church by Cornelius Burges, DD, the husband of Abigail, the youngest daughter of the Rector Dr John Burges, following her death on 19th March 1626.

Viewing the items in the Museum

These items are in gallery 7 of Birmingham Museum.  Once you have entered the main entrance and gone upstairs, walk through the shop to the large hall with the industrial gallery.  Go up the staircase to the gallery and turn left at the top, then continue straight on to the next gallery above the tea rooms.  The “Church and State” section is in the far right-hand corner.

There is a separate “Faith” gallery in the museum which records traditions of different faiths in the city.  It is well worth a look, but the silverware is not there!

Church and state

This is the panel of background information at the Museum for the whole case of silver items from a number of churches across the West Midlands.