This morning at Mass I noticed that our priest was using a different chalice to the usual one. When I enquired afterwards at the sacristy I found that our usual chalice had been lent to an exhibition because of its links to the Jesuit martyrs of the recussant period. This was the first I have ever heard of it. Our little church has a congregation of between 50 and 80, ( at eighty its standing room only), and we usually have but one chalice, even though communion is given under both species. I have taken communion from that chalice most weeks for several years and, while I observed that it was very old, nobody has ever mentioned this connection nor could anyone in the church this morning enlighten me. I've got to do some digging and will update.
In the process I discovered the following. I don't know if this is the same exhibition but it looks very interesting indeed... http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20080728_1.htm
Update: A kind reader has brought to my attention that there is an exhibition called Treasures of Prinknash at Simon Chorely Antiques on Prinknash Abbey Estate, Gloucestershire. This is most likely where our chalice has gone, as it quite near. I will pop over to the exhibition tomorrow to find out more.
Further Update: The chalice is at Prinknash and the exhibition is really super. I did not have time to linger so I'm going back tomorrow. The chalice is described as a Gunpowder Plot chalice as it probably belonged to one of the Jesuit priests who heard the confessions of those executed for their involvement in the plot and were themselves tortured and martyred for refusing to break the seal of Confession. The exhibition continues only until Thursday inclusive and is open from 10.00am to 4.00am. It includes all sorts of historic vestments, chalices, reliquaries, etc., and some very funny cartoons of the building of the monastery by Heath- Robinson whose son was a monk at the abbey.