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 A mint condition stone font from the mid-1100s

in Saint Bridget's Church, Bridekirk


Link to more baptismal fonts



Bridekirk is a half hour drive to the south west of Carlisle.  We did not have time, but If you go further south down the Cumbrian coast you will come to Gosforth, where there is an amazing 4.5M first millennium Viking Christian Cross (with cross still intact) in the graveyard of St Mary's Church.


To the east of Carlisle we visited another very old cross shaft at Saint Cuthbert's Church, Bewcastle, just north of the line of Hadrian's Wall.



Here is a link to a site put together by Chris Tolley which has photos and location details of

many pre-Norman crosses and other Christian stonework in the British Isles






Bridekirk is to the north of the Lake District and west of Carlisle.  It is unlikely to be on your way anywhere, but go there, get the keys from the friendly vicar, and enjoy this perfectly preserved old 1100s masterpiece, which still incorporates much pre-Norman symbolism and unusually (outside of Puglian bronze door makers) a self portrait of the sculptor. 







The sculptor - Richard of Durham - at work under the runic inscription "Richard (RICKARTH) he me wrought, and to this beauty me brought".  Or Richard (of Durham?) could have been the payer rather than payee.  The runic script is thought to link with local Cumbria dialect and the translation is still open to interpretation.


Link to Baptisteria Sacra - an index of baptismal fonts (with photos) from early Christian days to the 1600s








Link to a much better "Baptism of Jesus" (with fish) bas relief at Castle Frome in Herefordshire.





We have never set eyes on a medieval monster quite as magnificent as this fella on the upper right hand side.  Double necks and heads on the top right.  Magnificent curled tail on the left terminated by three blades.  A double headed Wyvern maybe ?





On the lower right, the baptism of Jesus with high velocity dove-peck and lots of fruit.





In 2007 the back of the font was positioned close to the wall, and a bookshelf has helpfully been inserted into this space to make eye viewing impossible.  The ever resourceful Team Paradox stuck in the P5000 with wide angle and - Hey Nikon - here is the bottom panel - and then a bit of distortion correction and stretching and - Hey Adobe - we are now searching for meaning .....





.... which is generally said to be a sword wielding wingless angel or God despatching Adam from the garden of Eden etc - we're not so sure - the photo below from Reims shows a more typical naked expulsion scene -  but have no better suggestions!




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