Saint Martin's Church - description page 4
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Introduction and history, Interior, Tower/Porch, Bells, Walls, Doors and windows,
Leper's window
, Font, Roof, Rood, Chancel, Vestry, Saint Martin of Tours

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The Font

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 font

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.

Font - second layer
Details of the rings on the two lower tiers

The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches.

Font - top layer
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.

Font - rim repairs
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.


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This edition copyright Stephen Bax 1999