The Skenfrith Cope was 'discovered' in St. Bridget's Church being used as an altar covering in 1848. For some years afterwards, it was taken to meetings of historical societies until in 1911 it was permanently displayed in the church in an oak case. In 1981, Kirstie Buckland undertook extensive repairs and re-lining, which undoubtedly conserved the Cope for several decades.
The Cope is made of red velvet, embroidered with a central image of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, supported by angels. Though much of the gold and silver thread is lost, it is still possible to see what a richly sumptuous garment the Cope once was. The iconography is similar to a Cope in the Art Institute of Chicago and to Cardinal Moreton's Cope in the V & A London, which are dated to the late 1400s.
In 2012, while major repairs to the roof of the church were underway, a fall of stone resulting in dust and debris around the Cope, led to its removal to the Restoration and Conservation Studio London for specialist assessment and repair.
The restored Cope returned to the church for St. Bridget's Day (1st February 2013) and was welcomed with a Celebration Service for Candlemas 2013 attended by the Bishop of Monmouth, the Abbot and monks of Belmont Abbey and elders of Norton Baptist Church, as well as many donors and local people.
We gratefully acknowledge support from The Foyle Foundation, The Idlewild Trust, St. Andrew's Conservation Trust, the Welsh Church Fund and the Trustees and Friends of St. Bridget's Skenfrith.