Norman font, St. Chad's Church


Ref. No.: KB216
Date of Photo: 1977.

The church font is probably the most important historical relic surviving in Kirkby. It is probably Norman in origin. The font is circular in design with the cavity large enough to allow total immersion of the infant during baptism. It probably came from the chapel when it was rebuilt in 1776. It lay in the church yard until the Rev. Cort returned it to inside the church in 1850. The original bowl of the font, carved in sandstone, is a cylindrical drum 25.5 inches high. The external diameter is 26 inches, the internal 19 inches, which gives a thickness of 3.5 inches. Round the lower part of the bowl is a serpent like coil having three heads. This is probably a representation of the Norse serpent called the Jormundgand. The central compartment appears to depict a representation of Adam and Eve on opposite sides of a carved tree. Around the trunk of the tree is the coiled serpent and the branches contain the apples. Perched on the top is a bird. Adam has a moustache and a beard and he is 15.5 inches high. Eve is slightly smaller measuring 14.5 inches high. Between her fingers she holds an apple which she is offering to Adam. In a side panel is an angel with a sword waiting to expel them from the Garden of Eden, whilst opposite is a figure which may be Christ piercing the serpent's head with a spear. The remaining seven compartments depict the seven orders of the clergy in Anglo Saxon vestments. These are The Ostiary (door keeper and bell ringer), The Lecotor (lesson reader), The Exorcist (driver out of evil), The Acolyte (duties include attendance at the altar and carrying candles), The Sub-Deacon (attending the Deacon at the altar), The Deacon (administered Mass to the Priest, baptised and read the Gospel), The Priest (preached and baptised).

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