It’s a strange story, and it didn’t even come from a Monty Python movie.
An Aug. 7, 2014, Reuters story reports, “British police raided an English country pub…in search of a stolen wooden relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail—a cup from which, according to the Bible, Jesus is said to have drunk at His final meal before crucifixion.”
The actual object of the search was a wooden bowl known as the Nanteos Cup, widely known in the region around the pub for its supposed healing powers. The relic had been stolen from a local home a few weeks previously. A source apparently tipped police that the item was hidden at the Crown Inn—a village pub in the county of Herefordshire—and they showed up in force for the search.
The object of the police search, which was unsuccessful, was a frail wooden bowl known as the Nanteos Cup that has been attributed with healing powers since the 19th century, attracting pilgrims and others who believe it may be the Holy Grail itself.
The search was ultimately unsuccessful. The pub’s landlady said, “We get a few rogues and scallywags in the pub, but no one who’s quite on the level of stealing a priceless ancient artifact.”
According to the news report, “The cup takes its name from Nanteos Mansion, a country house in Wales where the vessel is reported to have been stored until 1952 after 16th-century monks fleeing King Henry VIII’s dissolution of England’s monasteries sought refuge there.
“The cup was said to have been brought to Britain after Jesus’ death by Joseph of Arimathea, the biblical figure who provided Christ with a tomb and, according to legend, brought Christianity to Britain.
“Scientists who have examined the cup have said it almost certainly dates from many centuries after the crucifixion, and is not made of the olive wood that might have been expected for a Middle Eastern drinking vessel.”