Police officials said that they discovered the historical treasure in the early hours of Monday morning (September 24) at a property in Tadworth, Surrey. Two people were arrested at the location. One has been charged with handling stolen property and the second has been released on police bail pending further enquiries. The investigation continues, and the police are still appealing to the public for information regarding the burglary.
Det Sgt Barry Townson of the Bedfordshire Police explained, “We are, of course, delighted that the jug has been recovered and will be returned to its rightful home but the investigation continues into how it came to be in Surrey and who was responsible for the burglary. I would like to re-appeal to anyone with information about the burglary to come forward.”
The Wenlock Jug was stolen from Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton on the night of Saturday 12 May 2012. A man wearing a hoodie and a scarf to cover his face, and carrying a NIKE sling bag, climbed the fence, smashed first the door and then the security cabinet with a heavy metal object and stole the jug.
The Wenlok Jug is of enormous historical significance to the Luton area. Made approximately 1400-1500 AD, it is one of only three similar jugs in the UK and of the three, bears the earliest maker’s mark. It is made of bronze, stands 31.5 cm tall, weighs 6.1 kg and is decorated with the English coat of arms, the East Anglian coat of arms and the inscription “My Lord Wenlok.” The inscription could relate either to the first Lord Wenlock, who lived near Luton, or William Wenlock (died 1391) who is buried under St Mary‟s Parish Church of Luton. He was a canon of King’s Chapel and Master of Farley Hospital for the poor.
At the time of purchase in 2006, the Wenlok Jug was valued at £795,000. It was bought by Stockwood Discovery Centre with a contribution of £137,500 from The Art Fund and extra support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Headley Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, The Worshipful Company of Founders, The Friends of Luton Museums as well as individual donations.
Karen Perkins, Director of Museums said, “We are thrilled that the Wenlok Jug has been successfully recovered and would like to thank Bedfordshire Police for their diligence and hard work over the course of the investigation so far. We are delighted that this irreplaceable piece of local history has returned to Stockwood Discovery Centre and the community of Luton.”
Source: Stockwood Discovery Centre