The London Loving Cup

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Antiques Road Show, shown on BBC, Sunday 7th October 2007.


During the “Antiques Road Show”, shown on Sunday 7th October 2007, Alistair Dickenson valued the London Loving Cup at £10,000 to £15,000, he was most intrigued with the story of how it was presented to us on our Inauguration in 1946 by the London Guild of Freemen. He was delighted to learn that the Loving Cup was still being used up to four times a year in our ceremonies. Being Freeman of London himself maybe we will see him at one our banquets.

He said the cup was a fine piece of craftsmanship, in that it was solid silver and, unlike other cups he had seen, the outside was not raised from the inside. This creates an interior surface that is perfectly smooth. Also, the cup has three spouts which is unique.

Alistair established, from the hallmark, that the cup was made in 1908 and also made reference to the armorial shield on the base of the cup. Subsequently the Coventry Guild was contacted by Mr John Allen, who had seen the Antiques Road Show and offered to research the cup and the shield, free of charge.

Shield armorial for Oliver Welby - underside of the London Loving Cup

The following are just some of his findings:

In his opinion this shield was engraved for the second son of Charles Glynne Welby (see below*)

His first son was Richard W.G.Welby, born in 1888 but was killed in action with the Grenadier Guards in 1914.

The second son, for whom a crescent on the shield was engraved, was Oliver Charles Earle Welby (born on the 26th January 1902). Oliver Welby married Barbara Angela Mary Lind Gregory on 18th April 1927 and lived in Folkingham, Lincs, before moving to Denton Manor.

Mr Allen was told by leading members of the English silver trade that personal shields in such location are extremely rare.

It is not unknown for an abbreviated form of owner’s insignia to be engraved out of sight as a prudent mark of ownership, but armorial engravings on silver are usually intended for decoration and display. Here it is used with such modesty that its presence is revealed only to those drinking in the loving cup ceremony.

As the assay mark is 1908, the shield must have been engraved on the cup when the owner’s son (Oliver Charles Earle Welby) was about 6 years old .

The Loving Cup was re-assessed by Warwick Auctions in November 2013. It was described by them as “a three handled ‘Tyg’ of cast silver hallmarked 1908 by Carrington and Co. The gently tapered body having three leaf capped scroll handles and three spouts, applied overall with ‘cut card’ floral and acanthus decoration, interspersed with polished semi precious cabochon stones on a stepped skirted base. The domed lid is topped with a polished facet cut Jasper finial and bears the following engraved inscription: ‘To commemorate its inception 9th May 1946 Presented by the Guild of Freemen of the City of London to the City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild’.

The underside of the cup is engraved with a shield armorial for Oliver C. E. Welby, Esq. (1902-1977)”

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* The Sir Charles Glynne Welby CB, mentioned here, was the 5th Baronet and MP for Newark 1900-6. He was also the Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the War Office between 1900 and 1902 and was married on 24th November 1887.

For information about Alastair Dickenson see this web site:

Additional information about Denton Manor:

The manor was bought by William Welby in 1648

The Hall of Denton Manor was entirely rebuilt between 1816 and 1817

The manor was severely damaged by a fire in January, 1906 which broke out in the chapel in the north wing. Only the west part of the manor survived.

Denton Manor was demolished between 1938 and 1939 . A sale of fixtures and fitting took place, including 3550 feet of oak and walnut panelling, the fireplace and staircase.

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The Ceremony of the Loving Cup

This picture (above) was taken when the Coventry Guild revived the 16th century Ceremony of the Loving Cup. It was taken in the Council Chamber at the first Guild Admission Court when Councillor Harry Weston was Master of the Guild (1952-1954) seen on the left (protecting the Mayor’s back) with the Mayor, Councillor B H Gardener drinking from the “London Loving Cup” and the Deputy Master L. F Yates on the right (lifting the lid of the cup). The ceremony is still enacted today.

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