Medieval 'unwanted' font dug up outside Wiltshire church

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St Andrews Church, ChippenhamImage source, Marc Allum
Image caption,
Archaeologist Jacq Wilson said unwanted fonts were either buried or broken up

A medieval baptismal font has been found buried outside the main door of a church in Wiltshire.

The 16th Century font was unearthed at St Andrew's Church, Chippenham, during construction work in the churchyard.

The Rev Rod Key said: "It was replaced by the Victorians, when they redid the church a couple of hundred years ago."

Archaeologist Jacq Wilson, who made the discovery, said unwanted fonts were often buried or broken up to stop them "being used for anything profane".

Weighing about one tonne, the octagonal font and pedestal were discovered close to the church's front door.

Image source, Marc Allum

Ms Wilson said they were not expecting to find anything during work to extend the church's car park.

"We're actually just taking it down below the topsoil," she said. "So to find a 16th Century baptismal font in perfect condition in the ground is just amazing."

Rev Key said it was an "amazing discovery".

"It will be up to the church authorities to decide what is done, but temporarily it can be on show and in the end it may well have to be put back in the ground."

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