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American Decorative Arts
Maker (flagons): Thomas Carpenter, British, w. 1713 - c. 1745
Maker (dishes): Robert Hitchman, British

Communion Service

1713–60

Pewter

6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm) other (rim): 3 7/8 in.(9.8 cm) base (Base): 3 5/8 in.(9.2 cm)
Gift of Mr. Donald R. Hyde, B.A. 1912
1970.19A-F
Geography: 
Made in London, England
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
British
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Containers - Metals
Provenance: 

The "sacramental furniture" was presented to what is now the First Church of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, by its first deacon, Nathaniel Warriner (1703-80). The exact date of his gift is uncertain. The fourth precinct of Springfield was created by Governor Jonathan Belcher on 6 January 1741 in response to requests from citizens who lived too far from the town center to attend church. The Reverend Noah Merrick was ordained the new precinct's minister in April of that year, but the church building progressed slowly due to funding difficulties and disagreements over its location. The first ceremony recorded as taking place within the church was a baptism on 30 October 1748. Because the inscription on this service refers to "the fourth church in Springfield," Warriner presumably donated the set before Wilbraham was made a separate town on 15 June 1763 (Rufus P. Stebbins, An Historical Address Delivered at the Centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Town of Wilbraham, June 15, 1863 [Boston: George C. Rand and Avery, 1864]; Chauncey E. Peck, The History of Wilbraham, Massachusetts [np., 1914]; Merrick, 303). After about 1870, the church no longer used this communion service, and about 1900 the rector sold it to a Longmeadow, Massachusetts, family. At the time of the precinct's bicentennial in 1941, the service was exhibited at the church and illustrated in the local newspaper. This photograph also showed two other chalices that were apparently later additions to the set; their present whereabouts are unknown (Charles L. Merrick, conversation with the author, 15 September 1982). Gift in 1970 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Charles L. Merrick, History of Wilbraham, U.S.A.: Bicentennial Edition, 1763–1963 (North Bennington, Vt.: Charles L. Merrick, 1964), 21, 267, 303.

David L. Barquist, American and English Pewter at the Yale University Art Gallery: A Supplementary Checklist (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1985), 56–58, 76, 78, no. 249, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.