The gem of the Church and one of
the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting
of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim.
The base is a recent addition to
the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font
was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The
three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out
of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers
are adorned with groups of intertwining circles.
Details of the rings on the two lower tiers
The third tier is completely different,
namely intersecting arches.
Details of the arches on the top tier
The rim is the same design as the
two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern
not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half.
Detail of repaired section of rim.
The two lower tiers and the rim
are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted
the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added
the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of
Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple
from the days when the font had a locked cover. The seal of the
monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, now St. Augustine's College
[now part of the King's School], and dated 1280, shows King Ethelbert
as being baptised in a font of similar design to this. The patterns
of the circles are all different.
Go to next page>