Church silver is often one of the most precious and valuable items owned by a parish. It is therefore essential that it be properly secured, cared for and recorded, and that the conditions under which the plate is stored are as optimal as possible. In order to provide a solution to what can sometimes be a pressing problem, some cathedrals have a treasury where parishes from the wider Diocese can take their plate on ‘permanent loan’. Christ Church Cathedral is one such cathedral, and the Dean and Canons of Christ Church are willing to house silver plate for the Diocese of Oxford. Providing excellent storage conditions, the Christ Church Cathedral Treasury comprises a series of glass cases, located in the Cathedral Shop, where plate is displayed for the Cathedral’s many visitors.
Because parish plate is a precious asset, strict and particular procedures must be followed. The Diocesan Registry requires that any parish wishing to deposit plate with the Cathedral must obtain a Faculty to do so beforehand.
Procedure for new deposits
The parish must first contact the Cathedral Office (01865 610935 email@example.com) to ask if the Dean and Canons would be willing to accept the plate and, once this has been agreed, the Cathedral Office will provide a letter to this effect.
Next, the parish should contact the Diocesan Registry to obtain a Faculty application form: Oxford Diocesan Registry, 16 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LZ T: 01865 297208 F:01865 726274 firstname.lastname@example.org. The Registry will explain the procedure for applications.
On receipt of a Faculty the parish should again contact the cathedral office – the Cathedral requires both confirmation from the Registry and a copy of the Faculty.
1. The plate must be smart watermarked (SWM) with parish insurance SWM before receipt by Christ Church.
2. The person depositing the plate must bring photographic ID together with any documentation relevant to the plate being deposited (valuations, descriptions, history, photographs).
3. When the plate is brought to Christ Church for the Dean and Canons to take possession, the Cathedral Office will photograph the plate (unless photographs are provided by the parish) and record the measurements along with detailed descriptions of it.
4. Both parties (Cathedral and parish representatives) must sign and date two copies of a receipt for the plate. The Cathedral keeps one copy and the other is given to the parish for their records.
5. The item(s) will then be added to the Cathedral plate catalogue and assigned a catalogue number(s).
6. When Christ Church takes possession, the plate is then covered by the Cathedral insurance policy.
Procedure for withdrawing plate
When a parish wishes to take back plate, either temporarily or permanently, it must apply to the Diocesan Registry for permission to do so, giving at least 5 working days’ notice. Once the Cathedral has been notified that this withdrawal is approved, the plate can be collected from, and then returned to, the Cathedral during office hours Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. Dates/times for collection and return of the plate to Christ Church will be agreed with the Cathedral Office.
1. The person receiving the plate should please bring photographic ID with them.
2. The office will prepare, sign and date two copies of a receipt for the plate. The person taking possession will also sign these. The Cathedral Office keeps one and the other is given to the parish for their records.
3. A note will be made in the Cathedral plate catalogue against the catalogue number(s) that the plate has been returned to the parish short-term.
4. When borrowed back, the plate must be covered by the parish insurance for the duration.
Cathedral Office - October 2014