A CHURCH in Cornwall has accused a bank of losing a valuable artefacts that belonged to the parish.
The churchwarden of St Veep’s, Lostwithiel, Bernard Bonsey, told The Daily Telegraph last week that senior staff at Lloyds Bank had “mismanaged” the historic items, which had been deposited by the church ten years ago for safekeeping.
Mr Bonsey said that, after nine months and numerous attempts to recover the treasures, which included a silver chalice from the 16th century, he finally “hit a brick wall”.
“No one at Lloyds seems to know — or worse, seems at all interested,” he said. “I truly believe the bank has lost the silverware, but won’t admit it.”
Mr Bonsey began his enquiries in April. The plate, which had been bequeathed to the parish several centuries ago, includes a silver flagon and paten from the 18th century, and an “extremely rare” communion cup, dated 1579, with an estimated worth of £4000.
“The church would hate to lose them,” he said. “It’s not a question of compensation, either; we would dearly love to have these items back.”
Mr Bonsey said on Tuesday that, “unbeknown” to the church, Lloyds had sub-contracted the handling of the antiques to the security company GS4. He said that a box containing the silverware had been traced to “an aircraft hanger in Glasgow”, but, owing to a “totally inadequate labelling system”, he had been told that the recovery would take three months.
Having heard nothing since, he says that the bank remains “legally responsible” for the recovery of the box. Having received “no word of apology”, he said, the church had “little option” but to “go public”.
A spokesperson for Lloyds Bank, in London, said on Monday that an investigation was under way. “We take the security of our customers’ items very seriously, and are currently investigating the location of the items referred to.”
The Archdeacon of Bodmin, the Very Revd Audrey Elkington, said: “These artefacts are rare, and we are obviously keen to see them returned to the church and the people of the parish.”