Mid Wales

'Holy Grail' cup on show at national library in Aberystwyth

Nanteos Cup
Image caption The Nanteos Cup is believed by some to have healing powers

A religious relic which, claimed by some to be the Holy Grail, is to go on permanent display at the National Library of Wales.

The fragile piece of wood is all that remains of the Nanteos Cup, a wooden chalice named after the mansion in Aberystwyth where it was once kept.

Some believe it was the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper and that it has healing powers.

It was stolen in 2014 before being returned to its owners a year later.

It has now been donated to the library in Aberystwyth where thousands of people are expected to view it over the coming months.

Pedr ap Llwyd, director of collections and public programmes, said visitors would finally be able to view the "mysterious object".

"This is truly a remarkable object and a very interesting addition to the national collections."

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.

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Media captionPedr ap Llwyd, director of collections and public programmes at the library, discusses the myths surrounding the cup

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.

Owner Margaret Powell kept the chalice locked in a cupboard in a library and the sick travelled to Nanteos to drink from it.

However, some experts have said it was made 1,400 years after the crucifixion.

It originally measured approximately 12cm by 12cm (4.7in by 4.7in) but now measures 10cm by 8.5cm (3.9in by 3.3in) 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.

In 2014, it was loaned to a seriously ill woman because of its supposed healing properties, but burglars stole it while the woman was in hospital.

After police appeals and a reward being offered, it was returned to its owners.

Image copyright Nanteos House

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