SO2459 : Font in St Stephen's Church

taken 5 months ago, near to Old Radnor, Powys, Great Britain

Font in St Stephen's Church
Font in St Stephen's Church
The pre-Norman font is considered the oldest in Wales; Richard Haslam tentatively assigns it to the 8th century, though the author of the 1970s church guide thinks it could be a century or two older still. It is formed out of a single piece of erratic green dolerite or gabbro once deposited by a glacier, and is thought to have been used as a pagan altar before being was laboriously hollowed out and polished for its new purpose by Celtic or Saxon missionaries. At one time it was lined with lead, traces of which remain. The four stumpy legs and the octagonal plinth are later additions.
Church of St Stephen, Old Radnor
The Cadw listing describes the church as 'One of the finest medieval churches in Wales'. The fabric is essentially 15th century, although some earlier work survives from the church sacked by Owen Glyndwr in 1401/2. There were subsequent 19th century restorations, that of 1882 including rebuilding of the east end of the chancel, although the east window may follow the original design. It is the only authentic dedication to St Stephen in Wales, although it is thought that this may be a Norman confusion of the Welsh St Ystyffan with St Stephen the Martyr. Despite being in Wales, the church comes within the Diocese of Hereford, indicative of the complex nature of the Marches.

The church consists of a continuous nave and chancel, with north and south aisles, west tower and south porch. The aisles extend as chapels alongside the chancel. The north aisle is slightly narrower of the two, the roof being a continuation of the nave roof. The south aisle has a separately ridged roof. There is an unusual unity of its Perpendicular style compared with other medieval churches due to the limited time-span of its construction.

The exterior of the church has no particular features to note, but the interior is different. A significant amount of late medieval timberwork remains. This includes the roofs to the nave and south aisle, contemporary with the building, the fine late 15th century chancel screen stretching the full width of the church, and the organ case, dating from the early 16th century and the earliest surviving organ case in the British Isles.

There are a number of fine monuments to the Lewis family of Harpton Court, and several other items of furnishings that are described with their pictures.

The church is Listed Grade I.
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SO2459, 152 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Friday, 30 June, 2017   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 5 July, 2017
Geographical Context
Geological interest  Village, Rural settlement  Religious sites 
Primary Subject of Photo
Font 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 2497 5908 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:13.4876N 3:5.9904W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 2498 5909
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Image Type (about): inside 
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