Survey of Somerset Church Fonts: Harvey Pridham, edited by Dr Adrian Webb
Harvey Pridham’s Survey of Somerset Church Fonts has been edited by Adrian Webb, with a foreword by Julian Orbach, and includes descriptions and line drawings made by Pridham of Somerset’s ancient church fonts. Between 1886 and 1907 Pridham drew 374 measured line drawings and 49 perspective drawings of Somersets pre-Victorian fonts, as well as recording fonts he found outside churches. The volume contains over 220 pages and 400 illustrations, with an introduction and index.
From the The Journal of the Church Monuments Society 2014; pages 166-167
‘Although it is not immediately apparent from the title, this is not a modern survey of Somerset fonts, the core of the book being based on a typescript in the Somerset Society’s library collection compiled by Harvey Pridham between 1886 and 1899, but with some later additions of newly recorded material. This volume is the latest in the Society’s valuable publications of antiquarian sources. As the introduction by Adrian Webb explains, Pridham was concerned at the frequent occurrence of damage, or total destruction of, church fonts by well-meaning Victorians and their Gothic revival (p. ix). His concern was justified as eighty-five out of 481 pre-Gothic revival fonts had been lost in the county (although he noted for comparison that in Berkshire fifty-six out of 120 were missing). He found twenty discarded fonts, including a Saxon example from West Camel church acting as an ornament in a garden. As a result of this survey at least twelve were subsequently re-instated within churches.’
This volume is well produced and very competitively priced. It brings credit to the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society and is well worth buying.
The full peer review can be read in the Society’s journal that can be obtained at