Burglars have stolen a priceless religious artifact believed to be the mythical Holy Grail – after it was loaned to a seriously ill woman.
The Nanteos Cup, an ancient wooden chalice, was rumoured to have been carried over to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea, years after the crucifixion of Christ.
The revered Catholic figure later founded a religious settlement at Glastonbury and legend has it that the “grail” then came into the safekeeping of monks.
Over the centuries the mysterious wooden bowl was said to have magical healing powers and in later years it came into the ownership of the Steadman family, who kept it in a bank vault in Wales.
But the Birmingham Mail discovered the cup has now been stolen by burglars after being temporarily loaned to a seriously ill woman connected to the Steadman family.
Raiders struck after she had been admitted to hospital and stole the cup – sparking a major police investigation by West Mercia Police.
It is understood burglars struck at the property in Weston under Penyard, between last Monday and yesterday.
The cup was previously included in a Channel Five documentary called Search for the Holy Grail. In the programme, experts claimed it was actually made at least 1,400 years after the crucifixion.
But the cup has a long held reputation for healing, with people drinking from it in the hope of curing their illnesses.
The Holy Grail has been a issue of controversy and debate amongst historians and theologians – with some religious figures claiming the grail is actually the Holy Chalice, used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper.
The search for the mythical religious artefact was the plot for one of the 1980s’ biggest blockbusters, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.