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Font bowl, S face.

Image of the feature "Fonts: " at Braybrooke.

by Ron Baxter.

At Wend of S nave aisle. The font has a square 12thc. sandstone bowl with the angles chamfered off, apparently later, the chamfers with chamfer-stops at the top. The basin is circular and lead lined. It stands on a later octagonal shaft and base, dated by Bond to the 15thc. Each face of the bowl is carved with a different design as follows:

E face: A complex interlace of four intertwined serpents, their heads at the four corners of the rectangular field, and their bodies, decorated with beading, tangling and recrossing to make their tortuous route to the central vertical axis, where they are bound in a pair of grooved annulets, one above the other. At the right and left edges of the field are flowers with a beaded bud between a pair of furled leaves. Scattered in the interstices of the coiled serpents are small pellets. The field has a band of two-strand guilloche with pellets between the strands at top and bottom. This presumably formed a frame on all four sides before the angles were chamfered.

N face: A knotwork design of flat fillets consisting of a central ring with a compass-drawn four-petalled flower intersecting it. The four spandrels of the knot contain fan-shaped fluted leaves with scalloped edges, and the petals contain beading. At the four corners of the rectangular field are further fan-shaped leaves, and in the centre of each vertical side a trilobed leaf, the lobes decorated with rows of beading. The field was originally framed by a row of beading, which survives only at top and bottom.

W face: The rectangular field is almost filled by a pair of confronted palmettes with multiple, hook-ended lobes. Between them at the top is a mass of beading, like a bunch of grapes, and at the bottom a small triangular palmette framed by its own stems. The border survives in part to the right as well as at top and bottom, and consists of a row of sawtooth pointing inwards, with a nebuly outer edge.

S face: The field is divided into two by a vertical fillet. To the left is a siren with a curved fish's tail with scales and a female head and arms. She is shown in left profile, holding a fish to her mouth in her left hand. Her nose is long and pointed, her lips closed, and her eye almond-shaped with the lower lid chamfered. She has straight hair hanging down her back in a plait. She is carved sideways, that is with her head towards the bottom of the font. The right field is occupied by a cross of the type sometimes called baptismal, on a three-step base. The double field is framed with a two-stand cable, plain and beaded. The framing survives at top, bottom and left.

The bowl has a large horizontal crack right across the centre of the west face and extending into the north and south faces. There are gypsum plaster repairs at the NE and NW angles of the rim, and lock damage at the SW angle.

Dimensions

ext. w of bowl (E-W) 0.64 m
ext. w of bowl (N-S) 0.645 m
h. of bowl 0.48 m
int. diameter of bowl 0.54 m
overall h. of font 1.08 m