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Altar plate, associated with James VII (II of England)

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from Abbey Church of Holyrood, Edinburgh

Postcard of Altar plate, associated with James VII (II of England).
© National Museums Scotland

Altar plate, associated with James VII (II of England)

These are the surviving pieces of the altar plate used in James VII's Roman Catholic chapel at the Abbey Church of Holyrood in Edinburgh. Most of the items were bought in London in 1686 by the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, the Earl of Perth.

The group consists of a monstrance; ciborium; incense burner, incense boat and incense spoon; chalice and paten; and sanctus bell. All these pieces, except the spoon, bear James VII's royal cipher. The bell and spoon were made in Edinburgh.

In 1688, during the 'Glorious Revolution', a mob destroyed the chapel's furnishings. Some of the altar plate was saved by a priest who escaped with it to a predominantly Roman Catholic district in Banffshire. The pieces were subsequently dispersed.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-261-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  Q.L.1970.7
Date: 1686-7
Material: Silver-gilt; semi-precious stones
Dimensions: 523 mm H x 212 mm W x 145 mm depth
What: Monstrance
Who: James VII
W. F.
Where: England, London
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh (Holyrood Palace)
Description: Silver-gilt monstrance set with semi-precious stones, by W.F., probably London, part of the Holyrood plate given by James VII, c. 1686
  • Dalgleish, G. & Maxwell, S. The Lovable Craft 1687-1987: An Exhibition to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Royal Charter of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Royal Museum of Scotland, 1987 
  • McRoberts, Rt Revd. D. & Oman, C. 'Plate Made for King James II & VII for the Chapel Royal of Holyroodhouse', Antiques Journal, 48 (1968), pp285-95 
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