St Mary's Church, Huntingfield, Suffolk

 
 

The Font

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were times of great development and two families, both wealthy and influential, used their means to beautify and rebuild the churches on their manors including St Mary's. Keeping up with the neighbours is not a new fashion. Both left their marks on the font which, standing on restored steps and with a splendid cover, shows two heraldic shields.

The shield facing south depicts the arms of de Ufford while that on the north side is of de la Pole.

 
The de Ufford shield is that of Sir William de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk during the reign of Edward III. He held Framlingham Castle for the King and owned several manors in Suffolk. Among these were Parham, where he built the church, and Huntingfield.

The other shield is that of Michael de la Pole, Lord Chancellor and Earl of Suffolk, who married Catherine, daughter and heiress of Sir John Wingfield of Wingfield Castle. He succeeded to the manor of Huntingfield through his wife, and died in 1389. The shield shows both of their arms.

 
Michael de la Pole's has three polecat faces while Catherine Wingfield's has three open wings. Both are puns on their names. (For another heraldic pun look for the arms of Huntingfield being held by one of the angels in the roof: three hunting horns on a 'field'.)

In Ufford church you can see a medieval font cover which was a model for ours when it was made in the nineteenth century. In Wingfield church there is a font so like ours that it was probably made by the same craftsman.