St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (The Font)

Recent Photograph of St Mary Magdalene's Church (The Font) (Eardisley)

This is the wonderful carving everyone comes to see at Eardisley. Tradition says that a group of local stonemasons were inspired by the carvings at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, to produce an exotic blend of Celtic, Saxon and Anglo-Norman designs.

The shrine at Santiago de Compostela (dedicated to St James) was one of the major centres of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, as also today, although nowadays pilgrims stop at hostels on the way, whereas in latter days, they would have stopped at one of the many monasteries which grew up on the route. One such pilgrim from Herefordshire was Oliver de Merlimond, and on his return he built the Romanesque church at Shobdon (replaced in the 18th century), bringing in Canons from S. Victor in Paris to look after it; however experts believe the font at Eardisley was commissioned by Ralph de Baskerville, lord of the manor of Eardisley as a penance for a dispute in which he killed his father in law, Lord Drogo, the carvings representing the torments of his soul in his struggle between good and evil.

Other examples of this style of carving may be found in the doorway at Kilpeck, at Rowlestone, and in the font at Castle Frome, around which similar legends of the battle between good and evil have arisen.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Image contributed by Rosemary Lockie on 28th July 2009.
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