Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Font cover

Exactly what it sounds like - a font cover is a cover for a font! Early fonts may have been uncovered, or had a simply wooden lid, sometimes affixed with an iron hinge to the side of the font bowl. In the late medieval period, and more especially in the Elizaberthan and Jacobean periods that followed, it became much more common to create a fancy wooden cover for fonts.

These covers were frequently carved and painted, and in some cases resembled miniature temples or elaborate steeples. Some covers became so heavy and elaborate that it was necessary to fix a crane or pulley to the wall above the font, with a rope or chain to help lift the cover off when the font was needed. Perhaps the best font cover I've run across in a parish church is at Ufford, Suffolk.

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