The Holy Grail
The Nanteos Cup
Extract from “The Daily Colonist”
Victoria, B.C. May 9th, 1965:
were Guardians of The Holy Grail
“A few miles from Aberystwith,
Wales, in the Valley of the Nantes, lies “Nanteos”, one of the stately homes
of Britain. The Estate was the
family seat of the Powell’s of Nanteos.
The vast Georgian mansion sits
amid 5000 acres. Behind are rolling
hills and in the distance is the Bay of Cardigan.
Behind the beautiful old home are large stables, and ornate old carriages
from bygone days lie disused within the courtyard.
Nanteos is much the same as it was
200 years ago. There have been,
however, great changes in the Powell family.
Inside the hallway at the main entrance is a large oak panel with the
family coat of arms on it. Below
are the ramifications of the Powell family tree, the South African Branch, the
New Zealand Branch, and the Canadian Branch.
The old house is filled with treasures but the greatest treasure of all is the Nanteos Grail, believed by many to be the Holy Grail. For centuries the Powell’s have been the stewards of this mysterious cup.
Sept. 3rd, 1956:
“The most treasured part of the Nanteos Estate is a
crumbled blackened wooden cup, held together by wire,
which, according to one legend, is the Holy Grail itself
from which Christ drank at the Last Supper, and in
which Joseph of Arimathea caught some of his blood.
However, tradition has it that the Holy Cup of Nanteos is
not the Grail but a vessel made from the wood of the
Cross. During Henry Eighth’s reign when monasteries
were destroyed, the relic was
smuggled to various monks’
hide-outs until they took refuge with the Powell family of
Nanteos. Whatever its origin, the cup is a holy relic of
From The Toronto Globe and Mail,
Easter having come and gone, it may seem a little late to pass on this information, but it was only a couple of days ago that I chanced upon an article in a magazine called In Britain that told the fascinating story of the Chalice of Nanteos, which is looked upon by some as being none other than the Holy Grail itself. The vessel which, according to legend, was the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper, is now retained in an ancient Welsh mansion in Cardiganshire, called Nanteos. The house is presently occupied by Major and Mrs. J. S. Mirylees and, like many of the other stately homes of Britain, is open to vistors on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons during the summer. The Chalice of Nanteos is a small cup made of blackened olive wood and the story is that it was brought to Britain in 63 A.D. by Joseph of Arimathea, who laid the foundations of the Christian religion in that part of the world, at Glastonbury, Somerset. When he died, he passed the Cup on to his son, and thereafter it remained at Glastonbury for centuries, deeply treasured by the monks of the abbey that was built on the spot.
Glastonbury Abbey was one of the first victims of the antimonastic policies of Henry VIII, and in 1539 the abbey was dissolved and the glorious old building despoiled by the King’s command. Fearing for the safety of the precious vessel entrusted to his care, Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, gave the Cup into the custody of seven monks who were told to flee “over the impassable mountains into Wales. There they were to deliver it into the care of the Cistercian Abbey of Strata Florida, remotely situated amid the hills of Cardinganshire.
When Henry’s men threatened even this secluded haven, the Cup was taken for safekeeping to the friendly Lord of the Manor of Llechwedd Dirus, near Nanteos, who was requested to guard it “until such time as the Church would claim its own.”
The Powell’s of Llechwedd Dirus, from whom Mrs. Mirylees is descended, acquired the estate by marriage in the Eighteenth Century. When the present house was built in 1739, the Cup was placed there and there it has remained ever since. It is revered as a cup of healing and requests for water from it come to Nanteos from all over the world. There is supposed to be a great deal of evidence concerning the curative properties of the waters taken from it. The poet Tennyson wrote of it as follows:
The Cup, the Cup itself from which our Lord
Drank at the last sad Supper with his own;
This from the blessed land of Aramat –
After the day of darkness, which the dead
Went wandering over Moriah – the good Saint
Arimathaean Joseph, journeying, brought to
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