Most of the places I visit I’ll have seen a picture or at least a sketch, possibly an engraving, of the carved work that exists at that site. At the very least a description. Prepared as I am, knowing what I’m looking for, it’s still possible to walk into a church and be awed by the physical presence of a beautifully worked example of twelfth-century sculpture. The font at Lanreath is one such piece.
Heavy rain despite the forecast otherwise, slanting, driven rain. Two fonts are the objective, one at Fowey and another at Lanreath. We drive to Fowey first of all. Fowey is built into the steep sides of a river valley and is deserted today, midweek, late November. Inside the church a handful of lights pierce the gloom. (more…)
Two boats to get there: Falmouth to St Mawes, St Mawes to Place. The water is clear, the wind cool. The pontoon at Place, constructed from interlocking grey plastic squares, wobbles as I step out of the ferry. Lumps of dark bladderwrack line the exposed rocks. Concrete steps, themselves partially extruded from the earthen bank, guide the handful of visitors upward; a path worn into the grass turns to the right and I follow without thinking, assuming that the church is next to the house. It is. I’ve come here for the Romanesque door, a door that I’ve read about and seen pictures of over the years but never visited. It’s already worth it just for the journey, but the doorway itself is one of Cornwall’s best. (more…)
In the church at Feock is a font carved from a dark coloured stone. It is shaped like a chalice, with a shallow bowl, a slender stem decorated with plain and cable mouldings, and a broad circular base. Scale it down and it would be an exquisite drinking vessel. It has been linked with a number of other fonts in the county (Lanreath, Ladock, Fowey) on the basis of the stone type (Catacleuse stone from Trevose Head near Padstow) and the shared carved designs based upon foliate and geometric motifs. Given that the other fonts are twelfth century it is natural to assume that this one is as well. But I don’t think that it is. (more…)