'Holy Grail' Nanteos Cup stolen by thieves
In a real-life search for the Holy Grail, police are hunting thieves who have stolen a religious relic claimed to be the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper.
The Nanteos Cup, a wooden chalice named after the mansion in Aberystwyth where it was once kept, has been taken.
It had been loaned to a seriously ill woman because of its claimed healing properties.
Burglars struck while the woman was in hospital.
The cup is claimed to have been brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea after the death of Christ and then taken to Nanteos Mansion by seven monks from Strata Florida, Ceredigion, during the reign of Henry Vlll.
The house was then owned by the Powell family and after the monks died, they took possession of it for centuries.
Legend says the cup, made of olive wood or wych elm, is sacred and people believed it had healing properties.
Owner Margaret Powell kept the chalice locked in a cupboard in a library. The sick travelled to Nanteos to drink from it. Although some experts claim it was made 1,400 years after the crucifixion.
It originally measured approximately 12cm by 12cm but now measures 10cm by 8.5cm and is held together by wire staples and kept in a blue velvet bag.
After many years it left Nanteos Mansion and came into the ownership of the Steadman family in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, who kept it in a bank vault in Wales.
But West Mercia Police have said the cup was taken from the home in Weston-Under-Penyard sometime between 7-14 July.
A spokeswoman for Nanteos Mansion said the cup had not been kept at the house for some time, they were sad it had been taken but declined to comment further.
Anyone with any information about the burglary should call 101,