A spectacular 16th-century oak tankard has been returned on loan to its original owner, Glastonbury Abbey.
Carved with biblical scenes, flowers and animals, with little wooden pegs inside to show each man when he had drunk his share, it is known as the Glastonbury Grace Cup.
In the dissolution of the monasteries – when the last abbot was hung from the top of Glastonbury Tor for resisting – it was given to the Arundells of Wardour for safekeeping. A century later, when their castle was besieged by the parliamentarians, Lady Blanche held the castle for nine days, and even when it fell managed to save the cup by hiding it.
Her descendant, Lord Talbot de Malahide, has returned it on loan for the first time since an exhibition in 1886 marking the founding of the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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