The Font

The richly carved mid-12th century font from the old Lenton Priory is one of the most interesting in the country, one of only five rectangular narrative fonts.

In the 1530s, when Henry VIII closed Lenton Priory, the font was saved and taken to the new parish church. Its journey to Holy Trinity after the previous parish church fell into dilapidation is, however, still unclear.

Made from a single slab of stone, the sides of the font are decorated with biblical scenes of Jesus Christ’s baptism, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. There is evidence that it was once decorated in beautiful colours, and that a hinged, locked lid was in place to protect the water.

In 1906 the British Archaeological Society declared it "one of the greatest treasures among Fonts in the United Kingdom". A replica of the font, created in the 20th century, is used for baptisms at Dunedin Cathedral, New Zealand.

North face

A floral cross seemingly unique to this font

East face

At the top are a row of cherubim, under them a row of Seraphim, and beneath, all the four Evangelists, and a central panel depicting the Baptism of Christ by John.

South face

Christ’s Crucifixion. The central Cross occupied by Christ is much larger than the other two. The Roman soldier is piercing Christ's side with his spear.

West face

The first panel represents the resurrection of Christ who holds up his hand in blessing. The angel is sitting upon the stone which has been rolled away from the mouth of the Sepulchre.

In the second panel is a strangely combined view of the entombment and resurrection. A brutal looking Roman soldier is putting on the coffin lid underneath which lies the swathed figure of the Crucified, while Christ himself, with hands uplifted in blessing, stands above. Two angels are seen seated on the left.

The third panel shows the three women coming on the first Easter morn to the Sepulchre, bearing in their hands spices and ointments.

The fourth panel gives a view of the Holy Sepulchre guarded by an angel seated on the right. This portrayal of the Dome of St Sophia in Istanbul, as it existed before the Crusades, would seem to suggest that the font was carved by some person who had visited the Holy Land.