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Font is saved from burial

05 September 2014


THE Chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln, His Honour the Revd and Worshipful Judge Bishop, in the Consistory Court, reconsidered and deleted part of a faculty granted on 27 March this year for an Edwardian font, which had been in All Saints', Winterton (above), to be replaced by a medieval font, and for the Edwardian font to be buried beneath the resited medieval font.

It was assumed that the medieval font was thrown out of the church in the 1650s, during the time of the Commonwealth. It was lost until 1952, when it was found in a local garden and given back to the church. That font is 13th-century, and octagonal, and is currently located in the south transept, mounted on a Romanesque capital.

After the Restoration, a new font was commissioned in 1663. It was used until 1903, when the Edwardian font was donated by a parishioner. That font was used for about 100 years, but the steps on which it is mounted are now hazardous.

The proposal was for the medieval font to be moved to the west end of the nave after the Edwardian font and the steps are removed. Judge Bishop granted a faculty for extensive rendering work at the church, including the replacement and burial of the Edwardian font.

After the faculty was granted, the Victorian Society sent a letter of objection. It objected to the destruction of the Edwardian font, and also objected to that font being moved altogether. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposal to move the medieval font into position, and move the Edwardian font, was justified. He agreed, however, with the Victorian Society's objection to the Edwardian font's being destroyed in the process.

There was no Canon or rule of law which prevented there being more than one font in a church, although one was normal, and the liturgical norm was that there should be only one font at which baptisms took place. But that issue did not arise, because it was not proposed that the Edwardian font should continue to be used as a font.

Judge Bishop said that proposals could be worked up to place the Edwardian font in another location in the church, where it would not be used as a font, but could, as the Victorian Society put it, "co-exist peacefully" with the medieval font. If such a proposal was not practical or desired, then new plans were to be placed before the Chancellor for the removal of the font from the church to store, or to another church.

That part of the earlier faculty which stated "Edwardian font to be buried within the church" was to be deleted from the schedule of works authorised.

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