11th Century Baptismal Font at the Church of Nicholas,
Chaldon Herring, Dorset, England
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|Patron Saint||Saint Nicholas|
|Location||East Chaldon or Chaldon Herring,|
|Font location in church||Opposite the door in the South Aisle|
|Medium||Limestone (probably Purbeck)|
|Date of On-site Visit||19th November 2004|
Font of plain tapering cylindrical bowl, probably late 11th century, with later mortices for staples.
Of this Saxon font, Arthur Mee writes "...it was discovered in a farmyard and brought back to the church in our own time". This is at variance to the guide found in the church which recites that "It was reputedly caught in a plough share close to the original site of the church at Chaldon Boys and placed in this church in 1897....The Victorians had already installed a typically large font at the base of the tower". The Dorset Historic Churches Trust offers a third version of the story. There is a link to their website at the foot of this page
Long writes, "Saxon fonts survive in different parts of England, and two at least are to be found in Dorset - Chaldon Herring and Melbury Bubb - while it is quite possible that several, usually assigned to the Norman period, are in reality of Pre-Conquest origin. A similar font can be found at Studland. Compare also to the font at North Porton
John Hutchins, The history and antiquities of the County of Dorset, 3rd ed., edited by W. Shipp and J.W. Hodson, Westminster: J.B. Nichols, 1861-1873, Vol. 1, 1861, pp. 344-345.
E.T.Long, Dorset Church Fonts, Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, Vol 44 (1922), p62-76
Arthur Mee, ed., Dorset: Thomas Hardy's country. The King's England. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1939, pp. 59-60.
John Newman and Nikolaus Pevsner, The buildings of England: Dorset. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972, p. 136.
F.P. Pitfield, Dorset parish churches, A-D. Milborne Port: Dorset Publishing Company, 1981, pp. 162-163.
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset, Vol. 2, South-East Dorset. London: HMSO, 1970, pt. 1, pp. 34-35.
|Font Shape||Simple Tub||Total Height (without plinth or cover)||60 cm|
|Basin Shape (outside)||Circular||Diameter of basin (including rim)||65 cm|
|Basin Shape (inside)||Circular||Diameter of basin (not including rim)||49 cm|
|Basin lining||Unlined||Width of rim||8 cm|
|Shape of Base||Square||Outside Height of Basin||n/a|
|Number of pieces||1||Inside depth of Basin||27 cm|
Saint Nicholas church both far and near
View of the Saxon font from the door
The front (east face) of the font
View from the font towards the altar
Close up of the font
Inside view of the basin
Notice on base of font
The Victorian font installed prior to the finding of the original Saxon font
Dorset Historic Churches Trust|