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Fundraising push to keep treasure in Lancashire

Pyx dating to 1600s found in Lancashire, Photo copyright British Museum

Local charity the Friends of the Harris have launched a campaign to raise funds to keep a unique find from Lancashire’s history in the county.  Local people are getting behind the push to find £1250 to purchase, display and interpret a beautiful silver object with links to the county’s Catholic heritage and to the Preston Lamb, symbol of the city. 

Two years ago, a metal detectorist discovered a small silver container, known as a ‘pyx’, in a field near the M61 in Lancashire.  He reported his find and the British Museum declared it to be Treasure.  The pyx is a rare example of Lancashire’s Catholic history, likely dating from the 1600s.  Donations to the Friends' campaign (registered charity 503726) can be made online here.

The pyx was used to carry consecrated communion wafers at a time when Catholic worship was illegal and had to take place in secret. It was probably dropped by a priest on his way to take mass -
it was found just a few fields away from a known meeting place for priests. The Harris has been invited to buy the pyx for £1000 – the value placed on it as Treasure, which is paid to the finder and the landowner.  

Local people can donate online here or can pop into the museum and make a donation at the shop. All donations will be gratefully received and donors will be invited to a celebratory event when the pyx goes on display.  Find out more about the Friends of the Harris charity here.

 

Chair of the Friends of the Harris, Greta Krypczyk-Oddy says, ‘The pyx is a truly fascinating part of Lancashire’s history and we have already had lots of interest from our members. We have been very successful in raising money from the public for the Harris in the past and we are confident that this appeal will inspire many people to contribute to keeping this treasure in its rightful home.’

Cllr Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure services says,
“If the campaign is successful, the pyx will be put on display in the Harris’ Discover Preston gallery where it will help to tell stories about the Preston Lamb, 'Priest Town' and the local Jacobites – areas where the Harris has limited artefacts in its collections. There are over 300,000 visitors to the Harris every year, who will be able to enjoy and learn about, not only the pyx itself, but what it shows about people’s lives locally over the past 400 years.

 

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