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Historic coffer to return to home city
A RARE and important 17th century oak coffer chest commemorating a rich Salisbury’s woman’s benevolence to the city’s poor will be returning home after it sold for £2,700 at auction.
The carved Wiltshire oak coffer was found in a private Cardiff home and had been in the same family ownership since at least the 1930s.
It was seen for the first time in decades when it came up for sale in an auction of fine art and antiques at leading South Wales auctioneers Rogers Jones Co in Cardiff, where it was purchased by a private Salisbury buyer.
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.
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