It is now just over ten years since the new floor in the Lady Chapel was laid by the then Churchwardens, using new “medieval” tiles. The tiles were made exactly the same as they were at the beginning of the 15th Century. They are “Modified Trans-Pennine Group Tiles” made over 500 years after any known predecessors.
In order to get these made authentically (rather than use Victorian-style reproductions) they were produced by experts in Hungary, and shipped over to a nearby Farm, for storage. (One day, funds permitting, it would be good to lay similar tiles in the St Nicholas Chapel).
Prior to the laying of the floor, a tomb was found, containing apotropaic marks to ward off evil spirits. These marks were on grave makers built into the side of the tomb, and are based on the Christian Chi-Rho from the Greek letters at the start of Christ.
This is the St. Thomas window in the north aisle. ‘Doubting Thomas’ is on the left, saying ‘D(omi)n(us) meus et deus meus’, my Lord and my God, when the risen Christ (centre) shows him his wounds.
The archbishop on the right is not St. Thomas Becket (images of whom were ordered to be destroyed by Henry VIII) but rather St. William of York.
The Font is once more, as in medieval times placed near to the main entrance - and visible from both entrances (indeed all three medieval entrances, for there is a blocked doorway at the East End of the South Aisle). This is as it should be, since the font represents the spiritual way into The Church, through Baptism.
Close to where the font now stands, two medieval font bowls were discovered under the floor in the 1860’s. The current font was described as “modern” - it is in fact 15th century, as evidenced by the style (often copied in more recent times) and the remains of the fixings for locks to prevent the theft of the Holy Water. So perhaps it was swapped for one of the ones excavated—there is no record of what was done. The drain from the font enters the ground below—because it is unseemly to mix Holy Water with the polluted waters of our drains and sewers.
The canopy over the font is of 20th century construction, designed by the architect George Pace (died in York 23rd August 1975) and based on one he designed for Liverpool Cathedral. Unfortunately it was made of “Green” oak, which shrank and cracked in the fire of 1997.
While it more or less held together, with some remedial work after the fire, when the font was moved away from the Sacristy (Vestry) doorway, the canopy collapsed. After many hours of careful work, the canopy has now been re-assembled, and coloured to hide the scorching from the fire. It now hangs over the font, leaving space for people to touch the Holy Water within, to receive a blessing as they enter Holy Church, and for access for Baptisms.
These pictures show the extent of the damage to the font cover—the full extent of which was not known until work commenced. The bottom segment is extremely heavy, to prevent the canopy blowing in the wind. The size also required transportation back to Church in several sections, and then the “tiers” were re-fixed back in Church.
The canopy was then suspended from a new roof beam, according to the engineers instructions. At the same time, he ordered that a loose stone in the top of an adjacent arch be secured by an expert in chemical resins.