The Baptismal Fonts of Devon: High Bickington

Clarke, Kate M. "The Baptismal Fonts of Devon, Part VI." Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association 51 (1919) : 214-215.

75. High Bickington.

A cushion bowl of the second type, the four hemispherical faces meeting at the corners, so that the bowl is square at the rim. Each face is covered with ornament.

North. Two Maltese crosses, the ends of the arms rounded, so as to produce a circular effect. Both are damaged and repaired; the fragmentary one on the right shows that each arm had a triangular hollow, following the outline, which remains as a square-edged, ridge. As background to the crosses, there are chevrons, incised diagonal lines, and raised bands with deep hollows between, all arranged in an arbitrary way, without any attempt at pattern.

West. Similar in design, but the crosses are only roughed but ; their shape is the same as on the north face, but there is no ornamentation of hollows. The chevrons and lines are less determinate, and the whole face appears to be somewhat unfinished.

South. Instead of crosses there are two wheels of eight spokes, each enclosed in a circle of pearls, with chevrons in the interspaces. At the top edge is a band of raised zigzag and crosses, 2½ inches deep.

The eastern face has had to be much restored. There are two large four-leaved flowers about ten inches in diameter; the leaves project beyond a circle of pellets. Chevron in the interspaces, and a band at the edge of scallop and pellets.

About three inches of the shaft is cut in the same block as the bowl, it is, rather larger than the rest of the shaft, so that the appearance of a necking is produced. At the foot of the shaft is a cable, five inches deep. The material of the font is a cream-coloured stone of a crumbling nature.

The font was repaired and restored in 1902, and an interesting account of it (unsigned) is published in Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. II, No. 109, p. 145.

The writer states that before restoration the font was in forty-five pieces, partly through the use of iron clamps which had been let in to hold it together, but which disintegrated it instead. The actual metal removed weighed 16½ pounds.