A RARE oak coffer recalling a Salisbury woman’s bequest to the city’s widows and needy is to be sold at auction.

The 17th century Wiltshire oak coffer chest commemorating a rich Salisbury woman’s benevolence to the city’s poor will be seen for the first time in decades when it comes up for sale in an auction of fine art and antiques to be held by auctioneers Rogers Jones Co in Cardiff on Friday.

In her will, dated 1608, Dame Dorothy Wootton (or Wooton) of Salisbury bequeathed a fund for bread to be given every week to widows and the needy. The so-called ‘Dorothy’s Dole’ was distributed from St Thomas’s Church.

A plaque on the wall of the vestry at St Thomas's reads: “Dorothy Wotton, by her will dated 4th Novr 1608, left £52 to be employed so as to obtain from a Baker of good name, Twenty penny loaves of Bread, for distribution to the truly poor, and aged, of this City, every Sunday, after morning service.”

The coffer has been sent for sale from a private Cardiff home and has been in the same family ownership since at least the 1930s.

For further information, contact the auctioneer on 02920 708125 or cardiffinfo@rogersjones.co.uk.