Ironwork supporting the heavy oak lid of the font

Close up of the dove used to proved a counter-balance for the oak font-lid

One's first impression on entering through the South door is of space and light, the two special qualities of Perpendicular architecture. On our left is the Baptistery containing the font (1856) surmounted by an ironwork cross of the 18th century.

The baptistry, as the name implies, is that part of the church where baptisms are performed. Its position just inside the entrance to the Church reminds us that just as we must pass through the door to gain access to the rest of the church, so one must be baptised in order to start to the Christian life.The most important feature of the baptistry is obviously the font. This stone font, dating from 1856, has a heavy wooden lid.  During the medieval period it was the common practice to leave holy water in the font from the Easter baptisms and it became necessary to lock the font lid so that the holy water could not be stolen.

The lid of this font is not lockable, but it does have one very noteworthy feature. A very heavy and ornate wooden lid.The lid is suspended from the ceiling by a mechanism called a counterpoise which enables it to be removed with only minimal effort. The ironwork cross above the font, which is in actual fact made from an eighteenth century chandelier, supports a flying dove, and the two acorns beneath the dove's wings counter balance the weight of the lid.

The dove itself signifies the Holy Spirit descending from heaven, as dramatically illustrated in the West window. One can see John the Baptist baptising Christ and the dove descending in a shaft of divine light.

St Mary  the Virgin Mold

1. Baptistery

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