Disciples of Jesus – Praising God – Caring for Its Community

Old Communion Pewter

Dundonald Church pewter

These very old artifacts were assessed recently. Here is what was found out about them:

A pair of communion flagons with a mark in the base of Stephen Maxwell of Glasgow. Maxwell was the most important pewterer in Glasgow in the second half of the eighteenth century, becoming a Freeman of the incorporation of Hammermen in 1763. The first mark that he used contained the motto ‘Success to Y British Colonies. However, after independence he had to change his mark. The second mark, which is the one in your flagons had the motto ‘Success to Y United States of America’. America did not use the term ‘United States until 1783, so the flagons would date to sometime after that to 1788 or 1789 when Maxwell founded a co-partnery (essentially a partnership) and had to change his mark to reflect this. So the flagons date to c 1783 – 1788/9.

Two bread plates with the marks of Robert Whyte of Edinburgh. He became a Freeman of the Edinburgh lncorporation of Hammermen in 1805 and had his workshop in Cowgatehead. He continued in business until 1854, but it is likely that he gave up the manufacture of pewter in about 1835.

Two deep dishes, or bread plates, with the marks of Graham and Wardrop of Glasgow. This was a co- partnery between Robert Graham and James Wardrop who both became Freemen in 1774 and continued in business until 1812. Their mark bears a similar motto to that used by Maxwell ‘Success to the United States of America’, and would again not have been used until after 1783.

Four communion cups without maker’s marks it would appear therefore that the flagons, the bread plates and the cups were purchased at the time that the present church was built, and that this set was added to by the purchase of two more bread plates at some time in the nineteenth century.

Peter Spencer Davies