Oval medal of St. Laurence, 27mm long, with silver edging and painted ceramic centre, made in Italy.
Ampleforth Abbey Church is dedicated to Saint Laurence who was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome under Pope Sixtus II who was martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258.
The large reliquary in the north aisle of the Choir contains the relic of St Laurence, it is the bone of the upper arm. He was the deacon who was in charge of the Church's money, which the government wanted to seize. So he gave all the money to the poor people of the city and then arrived at the Governor's gates with all the poor, saying that he had indeed brought the Church's wealth. Naturally the official was upset and had Laurence roasted alive on a gridiron: hence the emblem used by the school and the Abbey.
The relic was presented to the Abbey in 1903 by Bishop Hedley who was a month of the Community. He obtained it on one of his visits Rome. There is no way of knowing for sure that the bone was Laurence's: but that is not the point, which is rather that the relic is a symbol ad reminder of that courage and faith with which ay martyr makes a powerful witness to Christ.