Crudely carved male & female faces, together with pelicans & a serpent on the bowl of this baptismal font, suggest the sculptor sought to depict the Garden of Eden. Experts used to agree that it dated from the 11th or 12th century, but some modern writers believe the ‘Romanesque’ carvings are a 19th century pastiche. The Welsh historic environment service describes the supporting stem as 19th century, with a “charming possibly recut Romanesque bowl”. The font is in the Anglican Church of St Thomas at Overmonmow, by the 13th century fortified bridge in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK.

- Image ID: 2C88ACF
Crudely carved male & female faces, together with pelicans & a serpent on the bowl of this baptismal font, suggest the sculptor sought to depict the Garden of Eden.  Experts used to agree that it dated from the 11th or 12th century, but some modern writers believe the ‘Romanesque’ carvings are a 19th century pastiche.  The Welsh historic environment service describes the supporting stem as 19th century, with a “charming possibly recut Romanesque bowl”.  The font is in the Anglican Church of St Thomas at Overmonmow, by the 13th century fortified bridge in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK. Stock Photo
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Crudely carved male & female faces, together with pelicans & a serpent on the bowl of this baptismal font, suggest the sculptor sought to depict the Garden of Eden. Experts used to agree that it dated from the 11th or 12th century, but some modern writers believe the ‘Romanesque’ carvings are a 19th century pastiche. The Welsh historic environment service describes the supporting stem as 19th century, with a “charming possibly recut Romanesque bowl”. The font is in the Anglican Church of St Thomas at Overmonmow, by the 13th century fortified bridge in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK.
Terence Kerr / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: 2C88ACF
Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom: crude carvings of male and female faces with staring eyes, together with pelicans and a serpent sculpted on the bowl of this disused font, suggest that a medieval sculptor probably sought to portray the Garden of Eden. The Romanesque style of the font, one of two in the Anglican Parish Church of St. Thomas the Martyr at Overmonnow, beside the town’s 13th century fortified Monmow Bridge, suggest that it was sculpted at around the same time. Until the late 20th century, it was considered to be an unusually well preserved example of a 12th century baptismal font. However, although parts of the red sandstone church beside the River Monmow do date from around 1180 AD, modern experts have disagreed over the date and provenance of the font - with some claiming that the carvings are no more than an early-19th century pastiche of Romanesque art. While some 1970s writers described it as “very ancient”, probably dating from the late 11th century, others have maintained that the scrollwork pillar and bowl are of different periods. Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh government, tends towards the latter view, describing the font as: “a disused one with C19 interlace stem and charming possibly recut Romanesque bowl.” D0468.A5582
Location: Parish Church of St Thomas, Overmonmow, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom