A Biltz communion chalice

While doing research on my behalf into the Biltz family, Frau Eva-Marie Jülich looked into a lead that the church in Mittelfrohna possessed a communion chalice that was commissioned in 1820 in honor of a “Faktor Biltz” by this person’s children. I’m not sure whether the German word “Faktor” should be translated as “factory owner” or “merchant”, but in any event this person could only have been my 5 x great grandfather, Gottlob Friedrich Biltz (1750-1820).

Frau Jülich made inquiries at the parish office Niederfrohna/Mittelfrohna and learned that they had two old chalices but that they were currently away being restored so that the office was unable to see if they had inscriptions. This was back in May. By the end of September she still hadn’t heard back from the church office so she called up again and was informed that the chalices were still away being restored, by a silversmith in Klaffenbach. Frau Jülich knew that there is only one silversmith in Klaffenbach so she called him up, the silversmith Mathias Heck. Herr Heck confirmed that it was indeed he who was doing the restoration, but at the time he was unable to tell Frau Jülich what the inscription was.

I had to wait until the 10th of November for a message from Frau Jülich reporting that  one of the chalices was indeed the Biltz chalice we had been looking for! Herr Heck has sent Frau Jülich and me photographs and documentation about the chalice, and in turn Frau Jülich provided Herr Heck with the chalice’s background story, for which Herr Heck was very grateful.

The following is a list of Gottlob Friedrich’s sons who presumably commissioned the chalice in 1820, the year of their father’s death: Gottlob Friedrich (1780-1856), Christian Friedrich (1784-1827), Carl Gottlob (1788-1834), Ludwig Gottlob (1793-?) and Wilhelm Gottlob (1795-1843). The following daughters might have been alive in 1820 but presumably they did not have the means to take part in the commissioning: Christiane Friedericke (1781-?), Caroline Friedericke (1791-?). Although the inscription does say “all of the children” – see below.

I am descended from Gottlob Friedrich’s son, Christian Friedrich, by way of the latter’s son, Franz Julius, who hadn’t been born at the time his grandfather died.

Thus this chalice is a physical object that reflects a small part of my family history, i.e the Biltz family in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.


The inscription:

Der Kirche zu Mittelfrohna verehrten diesen Kelch zum Andenken die hinterlassenen sämtlichen Kinder des selig verstorbenen Gottlob Friedrich Bilz zu Limbach – Anno 1820

Translation:

All of the surviving children of the late sainted Gottlob Friedrich Bilz from Limbach dedicated this chalice in his memory to the parish in Mittelfrohna – In the year 1820


Please take a look at Herr Heck’s web page at http://silberschmiede.com/ because it showcases many beautiful pieces of this master silversmith’s craft, both original and given to him for restoration. In the section “Atelier” you can click on a 360 degree view of his workshop. In this view you can also walk out the workshop door to see the neighboring buildings and even visit some of the neighboring shops and sites. I think the webpage is very well done!

I told Herr Heck that I would be sharing his web site on my blog. I don’t think it’s very probable but — who knows? — maybe someone who reads this posting is looking for a master silversmith.


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