Castle Frome and its Romanesque Font

Castle Frome is a little hamlet just off the Worcester-Hereford road: you could easily miss it as you drove by, and most do. Which is remarkable, because it has the best font in England. (Discuss! Nearby Eardisley is another candidate, as is the one at my old parish of Bridekirk in Cumbria…) Pevsner called it ‘one of the masterworks of Romanesque sculpture in England. It would arrest attention in any country.’ We wree glad to be introduced by old friends George and Jane Howe who live nearby, and share these church crawls sometimes.

The thing about actually visiting is that you can really get into the detail, and at Castle Frome I mean get into, as the undercutting is amazing, especially if it was done without a chisel. But look too at the flowing, flying feet of the St Matthew winged man, and the drama of his face. There too is the cheekier Kilpeck-like caricature of St Matthew’s ox. And that is before we look at the main event which depicts the Baptism of Christ (photo: Michael Garlick). And of course the pedestal figures, perhaps shackled and representing the Old Man in us, captive and burdened by sin, to be set free by the waters of baptism.

There are other treasures too, the tomb of William and Margery Unett, Cavaliers before it all went so horribly wrong, asleep in the chancel with the lustrous green of their bedlinen still showing well; and green though not with anything original, a rare original (Norman) sundial hiding above the north door (the porch is later work). I wonder who used it and why?