BOYNE HILL, Maidenhead, Berkshire – All Saints. 

Font cover

At G. E. Street’s church of All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead can be seen a particularly fine example of a font cover designed by Fellowes Prynne. Indeed, it was all he did here. An attempt will be made to give a full description of the piece. The cover is round in plan, and overall is dome-shaped. The dome is made up of six panels, the base of each housing part of the text: EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT HE CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The cross-section at this point is hexagonal; the hexagon rests on the circular base which takes up the shape of the font. The carving detail around the edge of the circular base is not unlike that which can be seen on certain of Fellowes Prynne’s screens, that is, a mixture of formal and florid patterns in parallel rows.

Above this is the hexagonal base of the actual dome, with the aforementioned text, and more decorative carving above the text. At the intersection of each of each of the six panels, at this level, are short pinnacles. Inside these, and the layer of decoration above the text, the panels themselves are based. These panels resemble a traceried lancet window top, with a circle enclosing three “trefoils with tails” and other standard details of tracery. The panels themselves are each joined at the sides, giving the necessary tapering of the dome, and enabling more decoration to be used, this time on the ribs at each panel join. The ribs have crockets similar to those on the pinnacles, and a kind of spiral detail along their full length. At the point of intersection of these ribs the woodwork fans out slightly, with six four-petalled flowers, above which is another circle of florid carving. The shape of this part of the cover, above the point where the ribs join, is not unlike that of a thistle, or perhaps a goblet of some kind. Above this, to complete the piece, is a dove with outstretched wings. The dove features prominently in Fellowes Prynne’s font covers, and here it is particularly realistic looking.

To emphasise the glory of the craftsmanship, certain features of the carving are picked out in gliding, giving the finishing touch to this beautiful piece of church art.  The carving was executed by the firm of Messrs Hart Son and Peard.

The photographs show the font cover in situ, and a detail of the carved and gilded lettering.