John E. Vigar MA, FSA Scot., FRSA

For Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals

This lecture is a stand alone title but follows on from John’s popular presentation `Murder, Sex and Mayhem in English Churches` in which he told the story of human tragedy and frailty as depicted in our parish churches.

In `For Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals` he builds on this approach to show how pictures and objects in our churches introduce us to historic practices – many of which have been forgotten or superseded – surrounding the so-called `Rites of Passage`.

Our first rite of passage – Baptism – is discovered via Holy Wells, fonts with their covers, canopies and chrismatories.

The second rite of passage – Holy Matrimony – is inextricably linked to church porches, mazers and Church Ales.

Our final rite of passage – the Funeral – is discussed though wall paintings of a sexton’s implements, huts to protect eighteenth century parsons at the graveside, and depictions of the last rites.

The lecture uses illustrations including carvings, wall paintings, stained glass and objects to show a thousand years of depictions of the milestones in our human journey.

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 As we travel around England, we occasionally come across fonts made of metal. In own time an amazing stainless-steel font has been placed in Salisbury Cathedral and many churches use a metal bowl at the front of the church. However, metal fonts...
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