An apostle spoon is a spoon (duh) that bears the image of one of
the Apostles at the end of the handle. They're not too common, usually
silver or silver-plated, and probably not usually used for actual
They got their start in the early years of the 15th century -- the
first known mention of them comes from the will of a woman named Amy
Brent who bequeathed "XIII sylver spones of J' hu and the XII
Apostells" in 1516 -- and they actually were used as tableware back
then. There were usually 13 spoons in a set, with the last spoon
depicting Jesus usually referred to as the Saviour or Master spoon.
They were very popular in England and Germany prior to the
Reformation, when there was more focus on patron saints affecting
people's everyday lives.
They were sometimes given as baptismal presents for godchildren --
wealthy kids might get the whole set, poorer children only a few or just
one -- and were alluded to by William Shakespeare, Ben Johnson,
Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and Francis Beaumont.
The traditional set of all 13 apostle spoons would look something like this:
- Jesus holding a cross and orb
- Saint Peter holding a sword, a key, or a fish
- Saint Andrew holding a saltire cross
- Saint James the Greater with a pilgrim's staff and gourd
- Saint John with a chalice
- Saint Philip holding a staff
- Saint Bartholomew holding a knife
- Saint Thomas with a spear
- Saint Matthew with an axe, wallet or halberd
- Saint James the Lesser carrying a fuller's bat
- Saint Jude with a carpenter's set square
- Saint Simon the Zealot with a long saw
- Judas Iscariot holding a bag of money
More traditional saints are sometimes used in place of Judas.
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