Silver virge given to Winchester Cathedral

June 10, 2021

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A silver virge, donated in memory of a faithful worshipper at Evensong, has been received by Daren Gibb, Custos (Head Virger). The virge, a silver ceremonial staff used by the Virgers to lead processions in the Cathedral, was commissioned by Mr Brian Cartwright in memory of his wife, Christine.

Brian Cartwright said, “My wife Christine loved Winchester Cathedral. She particularly valued Choral Evensong, and also enjoyed her varied role as a volunteer. The new silver and enamelled virge which has been designed by Sophie Hacker, and made by Tom Wellburn, is a fitting tribute to her, inspired as it is by the idea of Creation held in the love of God. It is good to know that it will be used for hundreds of years in a building she loved so much”.

Designed by artist Sophie Hacker and made by local goldsmith Thomas Wellburn, the new virge took its inspiration from the cross on the quire screen, recently gilded in memory of Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt.

The arms of the cross at the top of the virge curve gently around an enamelled sphere representing the world. The inner surfaces have a gently hammered finish, whilst the outer edges are highly polished. An inscription on the wand holds a dedication to Mrs Cartwright.

Thomas Wellburn said, “I am honoured to have been commissioned to manufacture this new virge for Winchester Cathedral. It has been humbling to create such an important piece that not only pays tribute to the memory of a loved one, but will now also be part of the history of Winchester Cathedral.”

The artist Sophie Hacker said, “Designing this virge has been a great privilege. I knew Christine in her role as a volunteer, as she often helped me as part of the hospitality team at art events.”