I know who my godparents are although sadly they are now all deceased; my mum’s sister, my mum’s best friend and her husband. I was always very close to my godparents and think I was very fortunate as many people lose contact after their childhood. In our kitchen drawer we have a rather fancy silver spoon, the back of the bowl decorated as well as the handle on which my mother’s initials P.M.M. are inscribed.

Deviating slightly I didn’t realise there were so many parts to a spoon; obviously there is the bowl and the handle, then there is the bowl tip, drop, shoulders, stem and terminal or tip. I’ve also seen illustrations which give bowl rim as the very edge of the bowl, and transition rather than or instead of shoulders. Decorated or decorative parts also have names; the bit at the back of the bowl where it joins the shoulder is the heel, a decorative line is I think called the thread, especially down the back of the handle and the different shaped ends have different names,, The idea of a spoon as a handy small container or scoop must have come from shells, using an object rather than the hand. Once people started using clay, did they then make an earthenware scooping thing, or had they already devise a spoon shaped item from wood or bone or horn, or maybe metal? Certainly later other all sorts of metals were used and by Tudor times it was common to give Christening spoons. There are of course so many different spoons, but maybe that’s for somewhere else as I need to get back to my mum’s Christening spoon.

As well as Mum’s initials, the year was inscribed – she was born in November 1925 but the spoon was dated 1926 so that was obvious when she was Christened. I know she was Christened in Winchester Cathedral where the family were living at the time. However, Mum’s family were quite ordinary so  firstly how on earth did they gt her to be baptised in such a prestigious place, and who was her god-parent who bought her the fancy silver spoon and had it inscribed? You can see the font where she was Christened; it’s made from a dark stone and was carved from one single block of stone and weighs about 1½ tonnes. It’s decorated with carvings of the miracles of St Nicholas. and was brought to Winchester from Tournai, in Belgium, in about 1150. It’s supposed to have been the gift of Henry of Blois, the grandson of William the Conqueror who was Bishop of Winchester at the time.

But who gave the spoon? How can I find out? It’s a puzzle and a mystery, so I’m going to write to the cathedral and see if they might help. My mum once visited it and was looking at it when a friendly guide told her all about it, adding that it was never used for Christenings, mum of course politely replied that she had been Christened in it! My featured image is on mum, aged about nine by which time the family were no longer in Winchester but Pavenham in Bedfordshire.


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