St. Helen’s Church
(A brief pen- portrait of the interior)
The Baptistry is the area within a church designed for the ritual baptising of individuals to ‘wash away their sins and begin a new life in Christ’. One the most usual finds in a Christian Church Baptistry is that of a font: a place where consecrated water used in the baptism of newcomers to the Christian church (usually infants). Fonts are usually located at the west end of the church, often near the south door. Fonts are usually of stone, and often lined with lead.
The font at St. Helen’s which has been moved from its original position, is 3 feet 4 inches in height, and apparently of late-fourteenth century date. The perfectly plain octagonal bowl has concave sides, around the lower edge of which is a hollow chamfer. The bowl is supported by an octagonal, buttressed stem on a plain base. The significance of octagonal shaped fonts is linked with the meaning of baptism which is to do with re-birth and regeneration. Number eight being the glyph for a new beginning. One circle leads out of another creating, as it were, a new octave. It is also interesting to note that a cruciform church building has eight angles.