The font is perhaps the most important part of any church. For centuries, no infant in the parish was thought to be saved from damnation until christened and fonts, as the vessels for this crucial rite of passage, were a pre-eminent tool in the Church’s fight against the Devil. Standing within the public space of the church – as with pews, rood screens and chantry chapels – fonts would have been paid for by the parishioners, and so the richness of their decoration was determined by the funds available and the prevailing architectural fashions of the time. Some of the more extravagant have elaborate multi-tiered covers, raised for use via ropes or chains and pulleys. In this fascinating introduction, Matthew Byrne explores the history of fonts in churches all over the nation, highlighting some of the most notable examples and explaining their evolution across the centuries.