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News > Christ College Archive > Bishop Lucy's flagon - resplendent once again

Bishop Lucy's flagon - resplendent once again

With thanks to our generous Chapel and Heritage Fund donors
Photo credit: Felicity Kilpatrick for Christ College Archive
Photo credit: Felicity Kilpatrick for Christ College Archive

Tucked away in a dimly-lit corner at the bottom of the library stairs, the Bishop Lucy Flagon sits in a glassed cabinet. It is not often noticed but it represents an important part of the school's history and its connection with Bishop Lucy, one of three Bishops of St Davids to be buried in the Chapel.

The silver gilt flagon, which would have held communion wine, is dated 1652. It was a gift to the 'College of Christ at Brecknock' from Bishop Lucy, who was Bishop of St Davids from the Restoration in 1660 to 1677. His name may be familiar from ghost stories you may have heard - or told!   

On display since the early 2000s, the flagon had suffered environmental surface tarnishing. It has been looking rather sad and in need of attention. Over the holidays, and thanks to the support from the Chapel and Heritage Fund, the flagon has been cleaned. Additional museum-quality mitigation strategies in place will slow the tarnishing process and help to maintain its resplendent shine.

The work has been carried out with specialist advice and it has been made possible with the support of donors who have given so willingly to the Chapel and Heritage Fund. With more similar projects already planned, this relatively new fund is already having an impact on the conservation of heritage objects in the school. Our sincere thanks goes to all the Chapel and Heritage Fund supporters who are helping to make a difference. 

Bishop Lucy's flagon is Object No. 3 in the 15 41 Exhibition that leads up to the Mezzanine. It can also be found in the online 15 41 Exhibition where you can read more about how the benevolent Bishop Lucy saved the Chapel from the dereliction wrought by a scheming local brewer. 

Also on the same page is a recollection shared with us by Mark Nolan Powell, which is reproduced with Mark's permission for your enjoyment.


Mark Nolan Powell (SHB 1960-66) recalls an incident that captures the fear instilled into the hearts of young boys by stories of Bishop Lucy's ghost.

It was a dark and stormy night, really, and we were doing our prep up in the Library. Looking outside from there, the Chapel forecourt was pitch black and there were no lights on in the Chapel itself. But you could just see the silhouette of the chapel bell tower against the swirling orange mist of the streetlights beyond.

As we huddled over our books, at a time when there were not any chapel activities scheduled, suddenly the chapel bell started ringing. At first no one took any notice, but it kept going. The bell was near to the Library window so it was loud and impossible to ignore. Someone casually went over to the window to take a look, and there was a stifled gasp as the report came back, "There's no one there. The bell's ringing but the Chapel's all dark. It must be the ghost of Bishop Lucy!” 

This remark referenced two aspects of the school's history and folk lore. Firstly, one of the figurative marble monuments located in the Antechapel was of Bishop Lucy, a former cleric of good repute whose piercing stony stare led us to imagine that he really might have some other-worldly knowledge of what went on in the chapel pews when we were meant to be paying attention to the service.

Secondly, his ghost was supposed to manifest itself on various but always unexpected occasions. So this announcement was greeted partly by cynical teenage disbelief, but also by a migration to the windows overlooking the Chapel to see for ourselves. We stared, and we saw. "Whoa, it's true! No lights! That's very weird! It really is the ghost of Bishop Lucy!"

The speculation and the noise level grew in the Library, and the bell kept tolling. And then quite suddenly it stopped.

In the Chapel yard down below there were lights, people, and voices - but no white spectres or bone-chilling howls. As the tension in the library began to subside, word reached us that it was nothing to be concerned about. Mr Lewis Jones a music teacher had gone into the Chapel to get something from the organ loft, and he had inadvertently become locked inside. Being unable to get the Chapel door open again, and not being able to attract anyone's attention by shouting, he had quite sensibly decided to draw attention to his plight by pulling on the bell rope.

But the chapel was dark. Why were there no lights inside? Oh yes, of course, because Mr Lewis Jones was blind.



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