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August 26, 2011

Apostle Spoons, Another Family Treasure Comes My Way

Set of Apostle Spoons
These are a set of 6 Apostle Spoons given by my Grandmother to her daughter (my Aunt) many years ago. They were in Grandma's family and it seems likely they were given to her mother as a christening gift when Grandma was born in 1894.

Apostle spoons were popular in England and usually given as a Christening gift by a godparent. If the godparent was poor, they gave one spoon. If they had money, they gave a complete set.

 We have not yet figured out which Apostle this is. You can tell from looking at what he is carrying but this set is a bit worn and it is difficult to be sure.

Apostle Spoon
Sometimes the set consisted of all the apostles, but often it was a matching set of one apostle, which is what Grandma's spoons were.

When I went to visit my aunt a few days ago she gave me the spoons to add to my other family heirlooms and treasures.  We haven't cleaned them or decided how to display them but I'm overjoyed to have another reminder of my beloved grandmother.

Grandma Ruth was born in Ramsgate England in March 1894. Her father, who suffered from epileptic seizures, was a coal driver. He and his horse delivered coal to homes in Ramsgate. His wife, my great-grandmother, ran a boarding house and Grandma Ruth told me many stories of her mother's wonderful cooking and loving personality.

Grandma often told me the story of how her father frequently had a seizure while making his daily rounds with coal. His horse would simply carry on the route and folks would come out, take their portion of coal and send the horse and cart with great-grandfather in it, on its way. Eventually the horse would return home and great-grandmother would come out to tend to her husband.

Great-Grandfather Simpson
Grandma Ruth


The Grandmother Here said...

From Wikipedia:
Apostle spoons can be known by the attribute mentioned in the following list:
• 1 the Master: cross and orb
• 2 Saint Peter: a sword or a key, sometimes a fish
• 3 Saint Andrew: a cross
• 4 Saint James the Greater: a pilgrim's staff
• 5 St. John: the cup of sorrow
• 6 Saint Philip: a staff
• 7 Saint Bartholomew: a knife
• 8 Saint Thomas: a spar
• 9 Saint Matthew: an axe or halbert
• 10 Saint James the Lesser: a fuller's bat
• 11 Saint Jude: a square
• 12 Saint Simon Zealotes: a long saw
• 13 Judas Iscariot: a bag of money
But since I don't know what a fuller's bat or a spar or a halbert might look like ....

Genealogy Blogger said...

Thanks Diana - a halbert is one of those weapons that looks like a pike. The problem is we can't see what he's carrying very well as the spoons are so worn.

I think I need to see some photos of these apostles and what they're carrying, on a spoon. It looks almost like a bag on our spoon, but I'm just not sure

Susan Clark said...

It seems he's holding a chalice leading me to think he is St. John.

Susan Clark said...

And they're truly a treasure!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Susan, I think you're right! Thanks for figuring this out

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that's a chalice. If you follow it down below his hands, you can see what appears to be the shaft of a sword. That would make this St. Peter. I too own some apostle figurals and am trying to identify them. It's difficult because each silversmith had their own vision of how they should appear. I hope this is helpful. Good luck but remember the important thing is that you have these wonderful treasures to pass along. Enjoy!