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VISIT | Discovering Art on the Eardisley Font | Herefordshire

A Stone Carved Lion
A Stone Carved Lion

Finding Romanesque Sculpture in a Church

Learn about the amazing Herefordshire School of Stone Masons

You have never really seen a font like this

More than religion, more than art, more than sculpture - just stop, stand and look

Visions From the Font
Visions From the Font

"...the wonderful stonework on this font..."

Description |

At the Church of St Mary Magdalene in the Herefordshire village of Eardisley lies a very interesting font. I know. A font.

Fonts were placed in every medieval church, near the main entrance to remind the parishioners about their own baptism and the significance of baptisms of becoming closer to God. In 1236 it was dictated that fonts should have a cover which could be locked. And the water changed – hopefully once a year…

But back to Eardisley - the Eardisley Font is rather special.

It rather takes your breath.

There is a lion. There are figures seemingly fighting. There is elaborate Celtic patterns and swirls. There are crosses. Made in c. 1150, its uniqueness is its design. The carvings around the outside show men fighting with spear and sword.

It more than likely depicts ‘The Harrowing of Hell’ – the descent of Christ into Hell; between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

But there are more local explanations of renowned individuals from the medieval period who quarrelled and fought each other. I guess you can read into it what you will.

It was almost certainly produced by a group of master stonemasons from the 12th century known as the Herefordshire School. These master craftsmen worked in and around Herefordshire and occasionally Worcestershire creating unique pieces of stone carving. There are other notable examples of this kind of Romanesque carving – the shockingly amazing Kilpeck church and the fantastically evocative Shobdon Arches (both in Herefordshire).

The Herefordshire School usually featured Norman figures, stylised animals and a pattern of Celtic swirls, crosses and lines. Another feature tends to be a particular type of humour which can be interpreted through the images portrayed.

Directions and Map |

Find Eardisley village in north-west Herefordshire near Kington and the church at its centre opposite the school

Longitude: -3.005591

Latitude: 52.136345

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