Baptistry Decoration

  Baptistry Decoration

Photo © Martin Crampin, Imaging the Bible in Wales

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Decorated stencilwork with figures around the top of the baptistry: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Ghostly Strength, Knowledge, True Godliness, Holy Fear. A row of three fishes in a roundel at the base of the decoration.

technique: painting
size: 28.5 cm (diameter of fishes)
artist: W F Lodge
designer: John Douglas

Church of St Matthew, Buckley, Flintshire

Text: 'Except a man be born of water and of the spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'

The figures represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, bestowed in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The fish is traditionally a symbol of Christ because the five Greek letters forming the word are the initial letters of Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour. It is also the symbol of Baptism, for as the fish cannot live except in water, the Christian cannot live save through the waters of Baptism. The reference to the text of John 3:5 is made explicit here. The three fishes in a circle is a reference to the Holy Trinity, in whose name Baptism is administered. The decorative scheme was designed by John Douglas of Chester (1829-1911) the architect of the rebuilding of the church, and executed by W. F. Lodge in 1903.


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Baptistry DecorationBaptistry DecorationDetail of fish: Baptistry Decoration

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Further reading

J. Clifford Jones, Buckley Parish Church 1822-1972 (Buckley: Buckley St Matthew's Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council, 1974), pp. 49-50.


Edward Hubbard, The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd (Harmondsworth/Cardiff: Penguin/University of Wales Press, 1986), p. 333.

  Baptistry Decoration

Photo © Martin Crampin, Imaging the Bible in Wales

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