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Bristol , United Kingdom
My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, will be published early in 2022 by Indigo Dreams. I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy. https://theleapingword.com

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Fonts of beauty

My preference is to do the hardest bit of a day out first thing and then meander home, via churches, graves, trees and - hopefully - pubs. After getting the latest section of the Malverns under our boots a fortnight ago, I had a couple of churches to visit.

First of all, Castle Frome, to the north of Ledbury - a 'single treasure' church, Simon Jenkins announces, firmly of the opinion that it's only worth going for the font.  

Which I have to admit, is striking. You'd be hard pressed, in fact, to find a finer one, even with the damage incurred at some point in its long history. 

The church dates from the early 12th century; the font is believed to be no later than 1170AD. And as you can see, the carving is beautifully done.


Initially, I wondered if maybe this was a devil being attacked by corvids but no, it's Jesus being baptised, with the dove of the Holy Ghost doing the pecking.


And this is the lion of St Mark ...
... and the bull of St Luke. (The other evangelists are there too, but my photos are a bit on the fuzzy side.)

There are other nice things there too, though. The vistas are plain but pleasing ... 

... and there's a cracking early 17th century tomb belonging to William Unett and his wife, Margery.  

Look at William's fancy pants ...
... and the folds of Margery's clothes. Beautiful work. 

After Castle Frome, we headed south to Kempley, just over the Gloucestershire border. I'd been there the previous summer, when I visited the Norman church of St Mary's with its impressive mediaeval wall paintings. This time I wanted to bag the far more modern Arts and Crafts Church there.

St Edward's was built in 1903-04, to the design of Randall Wells, a pupil of William Lethaby. 

Being an Arts and Crafts geek, I'd been looking forward to my visit very much, but I have to say I preferred the exterior to the interior ...

... mainly because I couldn't help feeling it was a bit like being in a giant Swiss cuckoo clock. 

Something to do with the carving and decoration of the rood, I think. 

Though there was another stunning font, and lots of Arts and Crafts detailing, with many of the fittings being made by craftsmen either on site or at Gimson and the Barnsleys' Daneway workshop in Sapperton.

Ernest Barnsley's inlaid lectern ...
... and one of the candlesticks.


















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