These aimed to force Irish Catholics and Protestant dissenters to accept the established Church of Ireland.
For Catholic priests, fines and imprisonment, or even death, were the penalties for participation in or practice of their Catholic ministry.
This 6in (15cm) early 18th century Irish silver recusant chalice is inscribed to the hexagonal foot Joannes Barnewall Pastor de Ardbrakan, 1706. Born into a noble family, the Rev John Barnwell was ordained in 1680 and in 1704 was registered as the ‘Popish Priest’ of Ardbraccan, Martry and Rathboyne and living in Neilstown.
From later writings, it appears that he suffered relentless persecution under the enforcement of the penal laws: “Although of illustrious birth and distinguished and manly bearing and noted for his charity, learning and selflessness he was yet the prey of blood thirsty informers and priest hunters.”
Estimated at £600-800, the chalice sold for £3000 to an Australian buyer at Dix Noonan Webb (24% buyer’s premium) in London on November 24.