A nationally significant bronze medieval jug has been stolen from a Bedfordshire museum [Fig. 1]. The Wenlok jug was taken from the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton at about 11pm on Saturday 12 May.
Director of Museums, Karen Perkins, called the theft ‘extremely serious and upsetting’. She said: ‘We are working extremely closely with police and investigators to do all we can to recover it. The Wenlok jug is a nationally significant medieval object. The jug is a very rare example of metalwork that can be associated with royalty from the 1400s. It is decorated with coats of arms and badges and is inscribed with the words “My Lord Wenlok”.’
In May 2005, the jug came up for sale at Sotheby’s and was nearly sold to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Its export was stopped however in October that year by the then Culture Minister, David Lammy, after experts ruled it was of ‘outstanding significance’ for the study of bronze-working in medieval England. It is thought the jug was made for either William Wenlock, who died in 1391 and was a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, or his great-nephew John, the 1st Lord Wenlock, a major figure in the fifteenth century who is commemorated in a post-Reformation stained-glass window in the parish church of St Mary at Luton.