Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Westerleigh, South Gloucestershire

(possibly)  Norman font at Westerleigh, near Yate, South Gloucestershire

I got a funny vibe from this font because the carvings were so shallow. And something about their complexity smacked of un-Normanness. But so much about it shouts Norman era - primarily the superb trumpetty scallops, which are indeed solid and bold. Also the spirally volutes on the corners were nice too. But I've never seen such skinny 'wishbone' motifs before, especially squashed in amongst so much stuff. But I'm willing to believe it's the Genuine Thing. Just a more detailed, yet shallower version of the fonts I most like.

Paley's drawing of the Westerleigh font

The picture above is from F A Paley's 'Illustrations of Baptismal Fonts' from 1844 - the engraver probably Mr O. Jewitt. It's quite fun to think I was on the same errand as Mr Paley's correspondent, sitting there in the vaguely damp atmosphere, drawing away. But 170+ years apart! Very strange.

Murray's Handbook (1872) implies the church had recently burnt down.. so maybe the font was lucky to escape.

Image copyright Rhiannon 2015


  1. Very stone-y looking - you capture the texture well!

  2. Hi Rhiannon, got lost quite a lot when my son went to UWE and lived somewhere on the outer edges.Sort of spent hours wandering round suburbia in Yate and the outer edge of Bristol. But did I ever say something about the church at Abson, (on the way to Pucklechurch) and the Saxon bits in the wall and the sheela n gig? if I did, ignore me. Also the Priddy church, had a couple of decorated Saxon work in the walls of the church , never went inside but it has an old barrow on the green next to it.

  3. Thank you Thelma, you did mention Abson and I must get out there as it's not at all far. Priddy sounds very promising, and I don't think I've heard of that one at all. It's amazing how much there is out there once you start looking. So many little gems hidden away. (And Thankyou for the tip-off on your blog to Alan Garner's article - excellent)