The FONT is usually placed at the rear of the church, near the start of the central aisle. Since the central aisle represents the Christian’s journey through life towards God, it was thought appropriate that the font should be placed at the symbolic start of the journey. The font is used for baptism – ST JOHN THE BAPTIST baptized those that heard his message, and baptized Jesus himself. Baptism is one of the seven Sacraments, and signifies a washing clean of the participants. It is also a presentation ceremony, a welcoming of the individual into the community.
Fonts may be lidded, and the lids themselves range from simple covers to grand architectural confections (at Ullaford in Suffolk the cover is an eighteen – foot spire.) lids were used because the water was blessed on Easter day and then left there for later use (fonts therefore had to be impermeable in the long term as well as the short, which is why some are lined with lead). The holy water had to be protected from dirt and dust, and also from theft for use in charms and magical rituals. In England covers became compulsory from 1236, although nowadays water used in baptism is blessed on the day.
Taylor, R. (2007). How to read a church. Singpore: Tien Wah Press.
Photos taken by the blog’s author