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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester Cathedral

Tour the Winchester Cathedral
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia


Winchester Cathedral's huge font is a masterpiece of stone carving dating from the earliest phase of the present Cathedral. It is made from a single block of the most expensive black Tournai 'marble' brought all the way from Belgium in the 12th century. Of only seven known examples of such fonts in England, four can be found in Hampshire, all in churches connected with the powerful Bishop of Winchester, Prince Henry of Blois. His reputation as being 'most earnest in beautifying churches' was by no means understated.

Winchester's font depicts glistening scenes from the life of St. Nicholas: restoring three murdered children to life and giving dowry money to an old man to save his daughters from prostitution! It seems fitting that one of the finest fonts in the country should have been used for the baptism of many Royal children born in the nearby castle: notably King Henry III, but not Henry's VII's ill-fated son, Arthur, Prince of Wales.

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