Apostle spoon

Apostle spoon

An apostle spoon is a spoon (usually silver or silver-plated, but sometimes of other metals, such as pewter) with an image of an apostle or other Christian religious figure as the termination of the handle, each bearing his distinctive emblem.

Originating in early-fifteenth century Europe as spoons used at table (often produced in sets of thirteen), by the sixteenth century they had become popular as baptismal presents for god-children, but were dying out by 1666. In some communities this tradition continued until at least the mid-twentieth century. Shakespeare refers to it in Henry VIII, Act 5, Scene 3, where Cranmer declines to be sponsor for the infant Elizabeth because of his lack of money. King Henry banters him with "Come, come, my lord, you'd spare your spoons."

Sets of the twelve apostles are not common, and complete sets of thirteen, with the figure of Jesus on a larger spoon, are still rarer.


  • William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book (1831)
  • W. J. Cripps, Old English Plate (9th ed., 1906)

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