Ottewill Silversmiths create verge for Westminster Abbey


A new verge for Westminster Abbey

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Ottewill Silversmiths and Jewellers Ltd proudly watched as the new verge manufactured for Westminster Abbey was used for the first time on Tuesday by the Dean’s Verger, Martin Castledine. The special service, to celebrate the 750th Anniversary of the re-building of the Abbey, was attended by Her Majesty The Queen.

The commission by Westminster Abbey following a tender process overseen by The Goldsmiths’ Company, stipulated that the piece had to be made by an apprentice. Our 5 year apprentice, 21 year old William Sullivan, relished the challenge and it was hand made to an exceptional standard in our Ashford based silver workshops.

Speaking about the commission Steven Ottewill, Director of Ottewill Silversmiths said:

“Ottewill Silversmiths have been involved in some of the country’s most spectacular silverware this year and I am delighted to have been commissioned to design and manufacture this new verge for Westminster Abbey.

The brief for the design, set by our Livery Company, was to create a sterling silver verge that fitted its environment, be functional, and be created by an apprentice bound through the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

My design was chosen over several contemporary silversmiths’ designs, and my apprentice, William Sullivan, was therefore asked to manufacture the piece. William is the last of my four apprentices, all taught at Ottewill workshops in Ashford and is in his fifth and final year of his apprenticeship.

I am thoroughly delighted that William has created the verge to a magnificent standard. It’s a privilege to have Ottewill attributed to the design and manufacture and that it will be used for centuries to come."

Speaking about his experience of making the prestigious piece, Ottewill Silversmiths apprentice William Sullivan said:

“It has been a great opportunity to manufacture such an important piece that is now part of the history of Westminster Abbey. It took me out of my comfort zone on many occasions and has helped me progress on my journey to becoming a craftsman and it’s really exciting to know it will be carried at the next Coronation!”

The new sterling silver and silver gilt verge features, on one side of the head of the wand, the coat of arms of St Edward the Confessor, whose church at the Benedictine Abbey was consecrated in 1065, and on the other, the coat of arms of Henry III, who began the construction of the church today known throughout the world as Westminster Abbey. Around the head of the verge is the inscription: '750th Anniversary of Henry III's Church 1269 – 2019'.


Rebecca van Rooijen


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