Monks’ hoard to be sold off

BIG SALE: Father John Gribben with a bowl to be sold in the auction.
BIG SALE: Father John Gribben with a bowl to be sold in the auction.
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it’s an ancient antique that Monks hope will bowl over history fans.

Made by the Royal Goldsmiths to George III in 1804, this silver trophy could go under the hammer for a five figure sum.

The bowl includes the coat of arms for the Londonderry family who made their mark on history by securing the passing of the Act of Union between England and Ireland.

It is just one of the lots set to go under the hammer to help raise money for much-needed repairs of the Community of the Resurrection monastery, in Mirfield.

Other items up for auction include a desk featured in the 1939 film Goodnight Mr Chips and letters penned by Sir Robert Peel, who founded the police force, and former Prime Minister William Gladstone.

Father John Gribben, who has organised the auction, said: “My hope is that the silver bowl will make a five figure sum.

“But we have something to match everyone’s pockets from lots for a tenner to those that we hope will make thousands of pounds.

“The letter from Sir Robert Peel is easy to read and is beautifully written but to be honest Gladstone’s handwriting is abominable.

“His letter is answering questions about money for the relief of Catholics probably in Ireland.”

Major renovations were needed at the church, which has existed since 1898, and the auction was organised as part of the monks’s efforts to collect £2.3m.

Visitors to the church spent nearly three years without heating and used emergency lighting for two years.

Recent improvements have included installing a new heating system as the church’s boiler failed in 2008, disabled access and improved seating.

Two auctions have already been held at the church and last year a set of jewellery given to a mistress of George IV sold for £30,000.

Father Gribben, who hopes to raise thousands from the latest auction, added: “The auctions have been great.

“This is my third and last auction.

“There has been a great sense of co-operation in the community.

“The renovation was necessary because we spent three years without heat and two years on emergency lighting.

“It really has been a magnificent job.”

The Community of the Resurrection moved into a large house in the middle of the diocese of Wakefield in 1898, which became the centre of the religious community.

The auction will be held at the church on Saturday, March 29, at 2pm.


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