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The Font

The Font is a fitting place for our journey to start partly because baptism is the beginning of the journey into full church membership, but also because the pedestal of the font is the oldest thing in the church. It is older than the church itself.

The main part of the church is fourteenth century but the base of the font goes back at least 100 years before that. It is, perhaps, the last relic of the earlier (probably wooden) church that stood on this site when a church was first established here in 1147.

The bowl of the font, though not so old as the base, also has its stories to tell. The first story is contained in its shape. If you lift the lid and look in (yes, it's quite all right to do so) you will see that it is quite deep. A modern font is normally shallow and saucer shaped. The greater depth of this font tells us that it goes back to a time when Christenings were a good deal more traumatic than they are nowadays. In days gone by the child was brought to the church naked. Met at the church door by the priest it would have had salt put into its mouth to drive out demons. Carried into the church it would then have been immersed three times in the waters of the font, before being given, by the church, its white Christening gown to symbolise the fact that it had been washed clean from sin and was starting life off anew as a member of God's family.

The second story is contained in the broken hinge that you will find on the southwest face of the font. Many old fonts have identical damage and it goes back to the time of the Civil War. The puritans, averse to the idea of Holy Water as a popish superstition, smashed their way into the fonts all over England to remove the offending liquid.

To see the third story, you need to look up. No, the pulley in the roof is not for use in baptising adults or exceptionally heavy babies. It goes back to the time when the font had a much more elaborate steeple-shaped lid. Too heavy to handle, it was raised and lowered by the pulley.

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The Font

Inside the Font

The Pulley